Skip to main content

Full text of "History of the reformation in Europe in the time of Calvin"

See other formats



President White Library, 
CORNELL University. 

./^5^5y '■M/^/^f'^3 


3 1924 092 350 960 

[ ^ Cornell University 
W Library 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 




VOL. I. 










• Lea choses de petite dur6e ont coutume de devenir fanfies, quand elles ont pass§ leur 

* Au r&gne de Christ, il n'y a que le nouTel homine qui soit florissant, qui ait de la 
vigueur, et dont il faille faire caa,* 


VOL. I. 






AT the conclusion of the preface to the first 
volume of the History of the Reformation, the 
author wrote, ' This work will consist of four volumes, 
or at the most five, which will appear successively.' 
These five volumes have appeared. In them are 
described the heroic times of Luther, and the effects 
produced in Germany and other countries by the 
characteristic doctrine of that reformer — justification 
by faith. They present a picture of that great 
epoch which contained in the germ the revival of 
Christianity in the last three centuries. The author 
has thus completed the task he had assigned himself; 
but there still remained another. 

The times of Luther were followed by those of 
Calvin. He, like his great predecessor, undertook to 
search the Scriptures, and in them he found the 
same truth and the same life ; but a different character 
distinguishes his work. 

The renovation of the individual, of the Churcli, 
and of the human race, is his theme. If the Holy 
Ghost kindles the lamp of truth in man, it is (accord- 

^iii PREFACE. 

liberty — let him come to the Gospel; let him seek for 
union with the Saviour, and in his Holy Spirit he 
will find a power by which he will be able to gain 
the greatest of victories. 

We are aware that there are men, and good men 
too, who are frightened at the word ' liberty ; ' but 
these estimable persons are quite wrong. Christ is 
a deliverer. The Son, He said, shall make you free. 
Would they wish to change Him into a tyrant? 

There are also, as we well know, some intelligent 
men, but enemies of the Gospel, who, seeing a long 
and lamentable procession of despotic acts pass before 
them in the history of the Church, place them uncere- 
moniously to the account of Christianity. Let them 
undeceive themselves: the oppression that revolts 
them may be pagan, Jewish, papal, or worldly . . . but 
it is not christian. Whenever Christianity reappears 
in the world, with its spirit, faith, and primitive life, it 
brings men deliverance and peace. 

The liberty which the Truth brings is not for indi- 
viduals only : it affects the whole of society. Calvin's 
work of renovation, in particular, which was doubtless 
first of all an internal work, was afterwards destined 
to exercise a great influence over nations. Luther 
transformed princes into heroes of the faith, and 
we have described with admiration their triumphs at 
Augsburg and elsewhere. The reformation of "Calvin 
was addressed particularly to the people, among 
whom it raised up martyrs until the time came when 
it was to send forth the spiritual conquerors of the 
world. For three centuries it has been producing, 


in the social condition of the nations that have received 
it, transformations unknown to former times. And 
still at this very day, and now perhaps more than 
ever, it imparts to the men who accept it a spirit of 
power which makes them chosen instruments, fitted 
to propagate truth, morality, and civilisation to the 
ends of the earth. 

The idea of the present work is not a new one : 
it dates more than forty years back. A writer, 
from whom the author differs on important points 
but whose name is dear to all who know the simple 
beauty of his character, and have read with care his 
works on the history of the Church and the history 
of Dogmas, which have placed him in the foremost rank 
among the ecclesiastical historians of our day — the 
learned Neander — speaking with the author at Berlin 
in 1818, pressed him to undertake a History of the 
Reformation of Calvin. The author answered that 
he desired first to describe that of Luther; but that 
he intended to sketch successively two pictures so 
similar and yet so different. 

The History of the Reformation in Europe in the 
time of Calvin naturally begins with Geneva. 

The Reformation of Geneva opens with the fall of a 
bishop-prince. This is its characteristic ; and if we 
passed over in silence the heroic struggles which led 
to his fall, we should expose ourselves to just re- 
proaches on the part of enlightened men. 

It is possible that this event, which we are called 
upon to describe (the end of an ecclesiastical state),. 


may give rise to comparisons with the present times ; 
but we have not gone out of our way for them. The 
great question, which occupies Europe at this moment, 
also occupied Geneva at the beginning of the sixteenth 
century. But that portion of our history was written 
before these late exciting years, during which the im- 
portant and complex question of the matatenance or 
the faU of the temporal power of the popes has come 
before, and is continually coming before, sovereigns 
and their people. The historian, while relating the 
facts of the sixteenth century, had no other preposses- 
sions than those which the story itself called up. 

These prepossessions were quite natural. Descended 
from the huguenots of France, whom persecution drove 
from their country in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, the author had become attached to that 
hospitable city which received his forefathers, and in 
which they found a new home. The huguenots of 
Geneva captivated his attention. The decision, the 
sacrifices, the perseverance, and the heroism, with 
which the Genevans defended their threatened liberty, 
moved him profoundly. The independence of a city, 
acquired by so much courage and by so many priva- 
tions, perils, and sufferings, is, without doubt, a sacred 
thing in the eyes of all ; and no one should attempt to 
rob her of it. It may be that this history contains 
lessons for the people, of which he did not always think 
as he was wiiting it. May he be permitted to point 
out one? 

The political emancipation of Geneva differs from 
many modern revolutions in the fact that we find 


admirably combined tberein the two elements which 
make the movements of nations salutary ; that is to 
say, order and liberty. Nations have been seen in 
our days rising in the name of liberty, and entirely 
forgetting right. It was not so in Geneva. For 
some time the Genevans persevered in defending the 
established order of things ; and it was only when they 
had -seen, during a long course of years, their prince- 
bishops leaguing themselves with the enemies of the 
state, conniving at usurpations, and indulging in acts 
contrary to the charters of their ancestors, that they 
accepted the divorce, and substituted a new state of 
things for the old one, or rather returned to an 
antecedent state. We find them always quoting 
the ancient libertates, franchesice, immunitates, usus^ 
consuetudines civitatis Gebennensis, first digested into 
a code in 1387, while their origin is stated in the 
document itself to be of much greater antiquity. 
The author (as will be seen) is a friend of liberty; 
but justice, morality, and order are, in his opinion, 
quite as necessary to the prosperity of nations. On 
that point he agrees with that distinguished wi'iter on 
modern civilisation, M. Guizot, though he may differ 
from him on others. 

In writing this history we have had recourse to 
the original documents, and in particular to some 
important manuscripts; the manuscript registers of' 
the Council of Geneva, the manuscript histories of: 
Syndic Reset and Syndic Gautier, the manuscript of 
the Mamelus (Mamelukes), and many letters and re- 
markable papers preserved in the Archives of Geneva. 


We have also studied in the library of Beme some 
manuscripts of which historians have hitherto made 
little or no use ; a few of these have been indicated in 
the notes, others will be mentioned hereafter. Besides 
these original sources, we have profited by writings 
and documents of great interest belonging to the six- 
teenth century, and recently published by learned 
Genevese archaeologists, particularly by MM. Galiffe, 
Grenus, Revillod, E. Mallet, Chaponiere, and Pick. 
We have also made great use of the memoirs of the 
Society of History and Archteology of Geneva. 

With regard to France, the author has consulted 
vai'ious documents of the sixteenth century, little 
or altogether unknown, especially in what concerns 
the relations of the French government with the Ger- 
man protestants. He has profited also by several 
manuscripts, and by their means has been able to 
learn a few facts connected with the early part of 
Calvin's life, which have not hitherto been published. 
These facts are partly derived from the Latin letters 
of the reformer, which have not yet been printed either 
in French or Latin, and which are contained in the 
excellent collection which Dr. Jules Bonnet intends 
giving to the world, if such a work should receive 
from the christian public the encouragement which 
the labour, disinterestedness, and zeal of its learned 
editor deserve. 

The author having habitual recourse to the French 
documents of the sixteenth century, has often intro- 
duced their most characteristic passages into his text. 
The work of the historian is neither a work of the 

PREFACE. xili 

imagination, like that of the poet, nor a mere conver- 
sation about times gone by, as some writers of our day 
appear to imagine. History is a faithful description 
of past events ; and when the historian can relate them 
by making use of the language of those who took part 
in them, he is more certain of describing them just as 
they were. 

But the reproduction of contemporary documents 
is not the only business of the historian. He must 
do more than exhume from the sepulchre in which 
they are sleeping the relics of men and things of 
times past, that he may exhibit them in the light of 
day. We value highly such a work and those who 
perform it, for it is a necessary one ; and yet we do 
not think it sufficient. Dry bones do not faithfully 
represent the men of other days. They did not hve 
as skeletons, but as beings full of life and activity. 
The historian is not simply a resurrectionist: he 
needs — strange but necessary ambition — a power that 
can restore the dead to life. 

Certain modem historians have successfully accom- 
plished this task. The author, unable to follow them, 
and compelled to present his readers with a simple and 
unassuming chronicle, feels bound to express his ad- 
miration for those who have thus been able to revive 
the buried past. He firmly believes that, if a history 
should have truth, it should also have life. The events 
of past times did not resemble, in the days when they 
occurred, those grand museums of Rome, Naples, 
Paris, and London, in whose galleries Ave behold 
lona- rows of marble statues, mummies, and tombs. 


There were then living beings who thought, felt, 
spoke, acted, and struggled. The picture, whatever 
history may be able to do, will always have less of 
life than the reality. 

When an historian comes across a speech of one of 
the actors in the great drama of human affairs, he 
ought to lay hold of it, as if it were a pearl, and 
weave it into his tapestry, in order to relieve the 
duller colours and give more solidity and brilliancy. 
Whether the speech be met with in the letters or 
yrntiiigs of the actor himself, or in those of the 
chroniclers, is a matter of no importance : he should 
take it wherever he finds it. The history which 
exhibits men thinking, feeling, and acting as they 
did in their lifetime, is of far higher value than those 
purely intellectual compositions in which the actors 
are deprived of speech and even of life. 

The author, having given his opinion in fevour of 
this better and higher historical method, is compelled 
to express a regret ; 

Le pricepte est ais^, mais I'art est difficile. 

And as he looks at his work, he has to repeat with 
sorrow the confession of the poet of antiquity: Be- 
teriora sequor! 

This work is not a biography of Calvin, as some may 
imagine. The name of that great reformer appears, 
indeed, on the title-page, and we shall feel a pleasure, 
whenever the opportunity occurs, in endeavouring to 
restore the true colours to that figure so strangely mis- 
understood ia our days. We know that, in so doing, 
we shall shock certain deeply-rooted prejudices, and 


shall offend those who accept without examination, in 
this respect, the fables of Romish writers. Tacitus 
indeed assiires us that malignity has a false show of 
liberty : Malignitati falsa species Ubertatis inest; that 
histoiy is listened to with more favour when she slan- 
ders and disparages : Ohtrectatio et livor pronis auribus 
accipiuntur. But what historian could entertain the 
culpable ambition of pleasing at the expense of truth ? 
Moreover, we believe that, if our age still labours under 
great errors with respect to many men and things, 
it is more competent than those which went before to 
hear the truth, to examine, appreciate, and accept it. 

We repeat, however, that it is not a history of Calvin, 
but of the Reformation in Europe in the time of that 
reformer which we desire to narrate. Other volumes 
are already far advanced, and we hope to publish 
two more in the ensuing year. But may we be per- 
mitted, in conclusion, to transcribe here a passage of 
Holy Scripture that has often occurred to our mind in 
executing a new work ? It is this : 

Ye hiow not what shall he on the morrow. For lohat 
is your life f It is even a vapour ., that appeareth for a 
little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought 
to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or 

* James iv. 14. 15. 
Eatjx Vives, Geneva. 







the reformation ast) modern liberty. 
Anciest Temies. 

Three Movements in Geneva — Importance of the Political Element 

— Causes of this Importance — Liberty in Protestant Nations — 
Influence of Calvin — Low Countries, Scotland, France, England, 
United States — Liberty and Licence — The Sixteenth Century, 
Servetus and Calvin — The Study of great things in small- — 
Three Sources of Modern Liberty : Roman, Germanic, Christian 

— Three Strata of the Soil Page 1 



Three Powers opposed to the Genevan Liberties — The Counts of 
Geneva — The Bishop-princes — Danger of the Temporal 

VOL. I. a 


Power of /ii;4)0p« — 'J'b'; liukcf, of Savoy — Tfi<;y cov'jf, G';n';va 

\'i-Xi:r of Savoy J/':l//i po;«i:H;iJoii of t,)i'; C;iKl.l<; — Jlii'. Ha';'M;i'.WK 

and Failure!' — Arruj/leuK V. w;izf:i', lfi<; ■,m:c/iu'\ Cai'.Ue — Mak';« fiifo- 
8c)f ViiJair/'; — ConfirroK tl/'; fAiii-.rt.i':)', ol' Gi:n<-,vii. — A/iiJi/leudl VIJ/. 
b':;.';i Geneva oC tiie J'ope — 'J t/e Pope deprive.jt Geneva, of 
the Kleetion of itH Jiihbop — A JJuke ari'l J'ope make;; );in/;',':lf 
j;l;.,l,op —'/j/\i- bef.v/een a S(/n and a Motiier — /rrej/ukriliec, 
of I'li'ilip Lackkn') — 'ft/e J'atijer rixnx away fron/ the H<;n — 
SlraUgeni of the .Vfotlier f// Kire her '/reaj'.nreh — ') he Hon 
aj/pearH before t)ie I'al.her — S/nj^rJar Vixit — I'aJr oC Geneva 
tranK(erre'l t/; Lyonis — A Jfeformin;/ !',i;-,hop at Geneva — Kavoy 
pref/areH to Ktrike a final Jllov/ — God breathe;', over Men — 
Jienovatjng Prineiph; in Geneva . . I'/.ofc 11 


A ;;ISI)0/- Kf;.*;7 BV THK /'Of-K TO /^^B 0C.,VK7A OP ;TS ISIiM-mt/t.'H.i:. 


I>eath of the P^ihhop, Ajritatj//n of the l'</jj,U: — Talk of the Git/zen;-. 

— l>e lionrnont eho>/;n Pi -hop by f/'/pnkr A'/Jam-ation — 'Hie 
D-ike and the i'^h.-.turd of Savoy — A;:;reement betw<^;n thew! 

Pr^.'.ee Gnion v/ith frd.v'/y dtimn-A by the Pope — The lifjr- 

gain '-.'/li'An'UA at lioiti'-. — The fiw'im are 'le';eive'i — Murmur** 
of th'i Generar,)* — 'i'he Hervile Parsy yiel'iK, the Pree Men pro- 
ti-gt — Kntraoee of the l'>h})<i]^[mn'/: ir/to ''j'-,u"/it% — He tak/;a( 
the Oath in order to br'^ak it — Tam[/;r!'. v/ith lierth/Jier an4 
l^e Bonrftoi/t — Pai;* and l/anqixet* to con-upt the Vouth — 
,Savoyar']>, at Ge/ieva — A Vou;.;? Pake — /;.',i/iOrality . .'JO 

GI/AK/Kli IV. 

0Wr/?ITI03S TO THK (>J ;IOA-, OF THE //l;KK, THfc POPK, AJfD TIfK 


G',.'npk:.ot« of the LJf^^.'ntiotjjtn/sst of the i'ru:>iM — Corrujytion in the 

*■>..'. vei.r-. — f,V,avai.. ■.-,;; h".p!'i'^'.i,'.ix\'itjm <j{ t;;e Mja;^i •<tRa<* 

Ar/iva! of P-,.-,. va,-; at G';n';ya — li:. ■/,•'. a;;d G','/<i-bii;no'ir 

l^'iith of hi* r;;,ek; the Culr*:rin* — I>:«.f*r^yn H.Jjr-i/:.-. ap}/s»/vt 

— Oj^:w^".i of Gl;ark» ill. — .'.Iarrii,^e of Julian an4 J'hdiUrta 


— A Bull gives Geneva to Savoy — Indignation and Protest of 
tlie Citizens — Sadness in Geneva — Contrary Decision of the 
Cardinals — Charles's new Scheme . . . . . Page 57 




Vandel and his four Sons — The Bishop kidnaps the Father — . 
Emotion of the Sons and of the People — Berthelier tears up his 
Chatelain's Commission — Address to the Bishop, who runs away 
— Miracles of a Monk — Fetes and Debauchery — Berthelier's 
School of Liberty — Sarcasms and Eedress of Wrongs — No 
Liberty without Morality 71 




A Thief pardoned by the Bishop — The Duke's Anger — The 
Ducal Envoys sup at St. Victor's — La Val d'Isfere tries to gain 
Bonivard, and fails — The Envoys and the Bishop take to flight 
— The Duke and the Bishop plot together — Bonivard and 
Berthelier combine — Characters of Bonivard, Berthelier, and 
Calvin — A gloomy Omen ...... 81 



A few Patriots meet together — Assembly at the Molard — The 
Oath of the Patriots — Supper at Mugnier's and the Momon — 
Bonivard's Witticism — Death of Messire Gros' Mule — Berthelier 
proposes a Practical Joke — The Mule's Skin put up to Auction — 
The Duke comes to Geneva — Seyssel tries to divide the Ge- 
nevans — Plot of the Duke and the Bishop . . . .92 





Pi^colat's Character — Non videhit Dies Petri — The Bishop's stale 
Pish — Treacherous Stratagem to seize Pdcolat — He is put to 
the Torture — Overcome by Pain — Terror of P^colat and the 
Genevans — The Bishop desires that Berthelier be surrendered to 
him — He is advised to flee — Quits Geneva in disguise — 
— They look for him everywhere .... Page 103 




Berthelier courts the Swiss Alliance — Berthelier's Speeches at 
Friburg — The Bishop refuses him a Safe-conduct — Threats of 
the Swiss — Huguenots — Mamelukes — Syndic d'Orsiferes de- 
puted to the Bishop — The Ambassador thrown into prison — A 
Savoyard Deputy in Switzerland — The Duke in Switzerland — 
Complaints against the Bishop . . . . . .114 



(Deceilbee 1517 TO March 1518.) 

P^colat appears before his Judges — Pie is threatened with the 
Torture — Reported to be a Churchman — Handed over to the 
Priests — The Devil expelled from his Beard — Tries to cut 
off his Tongue — Bonivard attempts to save him — Appeal to 
the Metropolitan — The Bishop summoned by his Metropolitan 
— Bonivard finds a Clerk to serve the Summons — The Clerk's 
Alarm and Bonivard's Vigour — The Injunction made known to 
the Bishop — Four-score Citizens ask for Justice — Influence of 

Pecolat's Friends — The Excommunication placai-ded in Geneva 

Consternation and Tumult — Oi-Jer to release P^colat — Papal 


Letters against Pecolat — P^colat set at large — Returns in 
triumph to Geneva — Pecolat in Yvonnet's Cell — His pantomimic 
Story — The timid Blanchet Page 126 


eebtheliee tried at geneva. blanchet and navis seized at 
turin. bonivaed scandalised at rome. 

(Febetjabt to September 1518.) 

The three Princes plot against Geneva — Torch of Liberty re- 
kindled at Geneva — BertheHer's Trial begins — The Procurator- 
Fiscal asks for his Imprisonment — Passionate Accusations — 
Blanchet and Andrew Navis at Turin — The Bishop has them 
arrested — TheirrExamiuation — They are put to the Tortiire — 
Navis repents of his Disobedience to his Father — ■ Bonivard 
goes to Rome — Morals of the Roman Prelates — Two Causes 
of the Corruption — Bonivard on the Germans and Luther — 
Bonivard at Turin — His Flight 148 



(OCTOBEE 1518.) 

Blanchet and Navis condemned — Farewell, Decapitation, and 
Mutilation — Their Limbs salted and sent to Geneva — Hung up 
on the "Walnut-tree, where they are discovered — Indignation, 
Irony, and Sorrow — Father and Mother of Navis — The Bishop's 
Cure of Souls — Chastisement of the Princes — Various Effects 
in the Council — Embassy sent to the Duke — The Bishop asks 
for more Heads — WiU Geneva give way ? . . .164 



(OoTOBEE TO December 1518.) 

Berthelier's Energy^- The Limbs of Navis and Tell's Apple — 
Bishop and Duke deny the Murder — - The Deputies join the 


Ducal Partisans — Bishop and Duke demand Ten or Twelve 

Heads The chief Huguenots consult together — An Assembly 

calls for Alliance with Switzerland — Marti of Friburg supports 
Liberty at Geneva — Ketum of the Genevan Deputies — The 
Coiancil rejects their Demand — The People assemble — The 
Duke's Letter refused Page 176 


the huguenots demand an alliance with feibueg : the mame- 
lukes oppose it. beethelier is acquitted. 

(December 1518 and Januaet 1519.) 

Two Parties face to face — Hugues' Mission to Friburg — Alliance 
proposed to the People — The Moderates and Men of Action — 
Agitation at Geneva — Quarrels — Berthelier's Danger — His 
Calmness and Trial — His Acquittal — Great Sensation at Turin 
— Ducal Embassy to Geneva — Flattery and Quarrels . 188 



(Febkdaet 6 TO TVTabch 2, 1519.) 

Friburg offers her Alliance — Voted with enthusiasm — Huguenot 
Elections — Great Joy — Mameluke Party organised — Liberty 
awakens — Strange Talk about Geneva — The Princes try to 
win Friburg — Tamper with the Huguenot Leaders — The 
Princes agitate Switzerland — Joy caused by the Deputy from 
Friburg — Trouble caused by the Deputy from the Cantons — 
Noble Answer of Geneva — To whom Geneva owes her Lide- 
pendence ......... 199 



(Maech 1519.) 

The Duke wins over the Canons — Bonivard's Speech — His Dis- 
tinction between the Temporality and Spirituality — Declaration 

THE riliST VOLUME. xxiii 

of the Canons against the Alliance — The exasperated Patriots 
proceed to their Houses — Bonivard between the People and the 
Canons — Canons write another Letter — The People quieted. 

Page 212 



(March and Apeil 1519.) 

Insolence of fifteen Ducal Gentlemen — Firm Reply of the Council — 
Alarm at Geneva — The Duliie's King-at-arms before the CouuclI 

— His Speech; Reply of the Premier Syndic — The Herald 
declares War — Geneva prepares for Resistance — Mamelukes go 
out to the Duke — Their Conference in the Falcon Orchard — - 
Duie removes to Gaillard — Marti arrives fi-om Friburg — In- 
terview between the Duke and Marti — Failure of the Night 
Attack — Duke's Wiles and Promises — Bonivard's Flight 220 


(ApEit AND May 1519.) 

The Duke and his Army enter Geneva — The Army takes up its 
Quarters in the City — The Duke and the Count are Masters — 
Pillage of Geneva — Proscription List — The Friburger reproaches 
the Duke — A General Council and the Duke's Proclamation — 
Friburg Army approaches — Message from Friburg to the Duke 

— Alarm and Change of the Duke — Genevan Sarcasms : the 
BesoHes War — Mediation of Zurich, Beme, and Soleure . 236 


abeest of bonivaed and beetheliee. 

(Apeii, to Sbptembek 1519.) 

The Bishop and Mamelukes conspire at Troches — Bonivard's 
Escape between a Lord and a Priest — Treachery of the two 
Wretches — Bonivard's Imprisonment at Grolie — The Bishop 
raises Troops — His Entrance into Geneva and his Intentions — 
Berthelier's Calmness — His Meadow on the Rhone and his 
Weasel — His Arrest — His Contempt of Death — Refuses to ask 
for Pardon — The Word of God consoles him . . . 249 




(August Airo Septembeb 1519.) 

The Bishop refuses a legal Trial — All done in one Day — Six 
hundred Men in line of battle — Unjust and iUegal Condemnation 

Berthelier's Death — Procession through the City — Emotion 

and Horror of the Genevans — Struggles and fiiture Victory — 
The Blood of the Martyrs is a Seed — The Bishop desires to 
revolutionise Geneva — Mameluke Syndics' silent Sorrow — 
First Opposition to Superstitions — St. Babolin — De Joye's Ex- 
amination — Threatened with the Torture — Princes of Savoy 
crush Liberty — Voice of a Prophetess . . . Page 261 




Levrier's Protest in the Name of Right — Huguenots recover 
Courage — Their Moderation and Love of Concord — Clergy 
refnse to pay Taxes — Luther's Teaching — His Example en- 
courages Geneva — Great Procession outside the City — A Threat 
to shut the Gates against the Clergy — Bonivard set at Kberty — 
Pierre de la Baume Coadjutor — Death of the Bishop — Despair 
and Repentance — His Successor — The new Bishop's Letter to 
the Council — Reception of Pierre de la Baume — Hopes of some 
of the Genevans — The Bishop's Oath and Tyranny . . 278 



(August 1523.) 

Beatrice of Portugal — Vanity of the Genevans — Magnificent Entry 
of the Duke and Duchess — Beati-ice's Pride offends the Genevans 


— Proof that Geneva loves Popery — Representation of a 
Mystery — Invention of the Cross — Banquets, Balls, and Tri- 
umphs — The Love of Independence seems checked — New Testa- 
ments sold in Geneva — New Authority, new Doctrine — 
Memoir to the Pope on the EebeUion of Geneva — Huguenots 
represent a Mystery — The Sich World — The Bible unerring, 
a true Eemedy — Disorders of the Clergy — Luther and the 
Eeformation — The "World prefers to be mad — Quarrels between 
Genevans and Savoyards — Levrier and Lulhn — Carters before 
Princes — Birth of a Prince of Savoy — Duke's Efforts to obtain 
Geneva — Disorders in the Convents — God keeps watch for 
Geneva ......... Page 295 




(Maech 1524.) 

Homage to the Martyrs of Liberty — The Vidames in Geneva — 
Who will hinder the Duke? — The Duke and Levrier at Bonne 

— Firm Language of Levrier — Church and State — Duke un- 
masks his Batteries — Promises and Seductions — Episcopal 
Council before the Duke — Levrier before the Duke— The Duke 
threatens him with Death — Levrier prefers Death to Flight — 
St. Sorhn and the Duke retire — Levrier kidnapped and can-ied 
off to Bonne — ^Agitation at Geneva — Episcopals afraid to inter- 
cede — Machiavellian Plot of the Duke — Geneva or Levrier's 
Head — Intercession of Genevan Ladies — Levrier's Calmness 
and Condemnation — Ten o'clock at Night — Levrier's Martyr- 
dom — A moral Victory — Founders of Modern Liberty — Effect 
on the Young and Worldly — Hope of the Genevans, Flight of 
the Duke — Geneva breathes and awakens . . .318 




Dishonesty of Treasurer Boulet — Syndic Eichardet strikes him — 
Boulet trades upon this Assault — Vengeance of the Council of 


Savoy Boulet and the Bishop at Geneva — Geneva reports to 

the Bishop the Duke's Violence — A new Leader, Besan9on 
Hugues — Election of four Huguenot Syndics — Hugues refuses 
to serve ■ — Appeal from Geneva to Eome — Threats of the Council 
of Savoy — The Bishop neglects Geneva — Violence done to the 
Genevans — The Duke requires the Recall of the Appeal to Eome 

Forty-two Opponents — Proscription Lists — The Storm bursts — 

Terror in Geneva — The Exodus — Vuillet's Visit to Hugues — 
Flight through Vaud and Eranche-Comt^ — Hugues quits his 
House by night — Pursuit of the Fugitives . . Page 345 


the fugitives at fkiburg and berne. the duke and the codncil 
of halberds at geneva. 

(Septembee to Decembee 1525.) 

Speech of Hugues at Friburg — Welcome of Friburg, Berne, and 
Lucerne — Evangelical Influence at Berne — Thoughts of the 
Savoyards — Mamelukes withdraw the Appeal to Rome — The 
Duke desires the Sovereignty — Geneva wavers — The Swiss Sup- 
port — The Duke's Stratagem — Hugues exposes it — The Fugi- 
tives joined by their Wives — Sorrow and Appeal of the Fugitives 
— Anxiety of the Bishop — Lay Power — The Duke's Scheme — 
Convokes a General Council — Council of Halberds — The Duke 
claims the Sovereignty — Vote in the absence of the Halberds — 
The Duke thwarted in his Despotism — His Heart fails him : he 
departs — Mamelukes accuse the Exiles — Lullin and others re- 
tiurn to Geneva — Their Demand for Justification . . 369 



(Decembee 1525 to Febbuaey 1526.) 

One hundred Citizens before the Council — Justification of the 
Fugitives — The Friburg Notary interrogates the Assembly — 
Eising-up of a little People — The Protest numerously signed — 
Measures of the Savoyard Party — Both Parties appeal to the 
Bishop — Pierre de la Baume at Geneva — Vandel wins him 


over — The Bishop braves and fears the Duke — Election of 
Syndics : Mameluke List — Episcopal List — Four Huguenots 
elected — The People quash the Decrees against Liberty — Effects 
of the good News at Berne — The Bark of God's Miracles. 

Page 391 



(Febeuaet to August 1526.) 

Act of Alhance in the Name of the Trinity — Eetum of the Exiles 
to Geneva — Speech of Hugues — Beads the Act of Alliance — 
Clergy plot against the Alliance — The Bishop protests against it 

— People ratify the Alliance — Liberty of the People and Tem- 
porality of the Bishop — Germ of great Questions in Geneva — 
Genevans incHne towards the Reform — Conspiracy of the Canons 

— A Flight — Everything by the Grace of God — The Swiss 
•• receive the Oaths of Geneva — Joy of the People — Honour to 

Bonivard, BertheKer, and L^vrier — Awakening of Society in the 
Sixteenth Century — Will the Tomb close again ? — Greatest 
Glory of France — Her Salvation 407 





Three Acts necessary for Union with God— Work of Luther, 
Zwingle, and Calvin — Truth and Morahty procure Liberty — 
Calvin crowns the Temple of God — A Queen — Similarity be- 


tween Margaret and Calvin — Their Contrast — Pavia — Effect 
produced on Charles V. — Advice of the Duke of Alva — Dis- 
memberment of France — The Way of the Cross — Margaret's 
Prayers — She finds the King dying — Francis restored to health 
— Margaret at Toledo — Her Eloquence and Piety — Admiration 
she inspires ........ Page 427 




Persecution in France — Berquin preaches at Artois — Opposition 
— Beda examines Berquin's Books — Berquin put in prison — 
Margaret and the King interfere — Margaret's Danger in Spain — 
The King's false Oaths — The Pope sanctions Perjury . 445 




Passage of the Rhine at Strashurg — Count of Hohenlohe — 
Correspondence between Margaret and Hohenlohe — Margaret's 
System — She invites Hohenlohe into France — Interdict against 
Speaking, Printing, and Eeading — Berquin's Examination — 
Margaret wins over her Mother in Berquin's favour — Francis I. 
forbids the Parliament to proceed — Henry d'Albret, King of 
Navarre, seeks the Hand of Margaret — Her Anxieties . 454 




Martyrdom of Joubert — A young Christian of Meaux recants 

Vaudery in Picardy — A young Picard burnt at the Greve 

Toussaint given up to the Abbot of St. Antoine — Toussaint's 
Anguish in his Dungeon — Francis I. restored to liberty Pe- 
titions to the King in favour of the Evangelicals — Francis objects 
to Hohenlohe's coming — The King's Hostages — Aspirations of 


Margaret's Soul — The Prisoner's Complaint — Thoughts of the 
King about his Sister's Marriage — New State of Things in 
Europe Page 466 



Deliverance of the Captives : Berquin, Marot — Michael d'Aranda 
made a Bishop — Toussaint taken out of his Dungeon — Great 
Joy at Strasbuxg — The Refugees in that City — Lef^vre and 
Roussel welcomed by Margaret — Fruits of the Trial — Evan- 
gelical Meeting at Blois — Toussaint at Court — Beginning of an 
Era of Light — Francis comes to Paris to inaugurate it — Hypo- 
crisy of the Nobles and Prelates — "Weakness of Lef^vre and 
Roussel — Toussaint disgusted with the Coiu-t — May France 
show herself worthy of the Word ! 480 



Will it be Leffevre, Roussel, or Farel ? — Roussel and the Princes of 
La Marche — Farel invited to La Marche — Margaret as a Mis- 
sionary — She longs for Sanctification — The Gospel and the 
Moral Faculty — Farel as a Reformer — Farel and Mirabeau — 
How Farel would have been received — The Invitation to La 
Marche comes too late — Berquia set at liberty — "Will he be the 
Reformer ? — Marriage of Margaret with the King of Navarre — 
Aspirations of the Queen — Everything in the World is 
changing ....•.-.■ 49o 




A Professor and a Scholar — Calvin's Arrival and Gratitude — Cor- 
dier's Influence on Calvin — Calvin enters the College of Montaigu 
A Spanish Professor — Calvin promoted to the Philosophy 


Class — His Purity and Zeal — His Studies — A Breath of tlie 
Gospel in the Air — Oliv^tan, Calvin's Cousin — Conversations 
between Oliv^tan and Calvin — Calvin's Resistance — His Self- 
examination — His Teachers desire to step him — Calvin has 
recourse to Penance and the Saints — His Despair . Page 511 




The Prothonotary Doullon burnt alive — The Light shines upon 
Calvin — He falls at the Peet of Christ — He cannot separate 
from the Church — The Pope's Doctrine attacked by his Friends 
— The Papacy before Calvin — "Was his Conversion sudden ? — 
Date of this Conversion — Regrets of Calvin's Father — Gerard 
Cauvia advises his Son to study the Law — Conversion, Chris- 
tianity, and the Reformation . . . . . .527 



Order and Liberty proceed from Truth — Beda and Berqiiin — Ber- 
quin's Enterprise — Terror of his Friends — Beda confined in the 
Palace — Berquin attacks Beda and the Sorbonne — Erasmus's 
Fears — He will not fight — Agitation of the Catholic Party . 539 





Louisa of Savoy and Duprat — Francis I. and the Sixteenth Century 

Bargain proposed by the Clergy — Margaret encouraged Her 

Walks at Fontainebleau — Her Accouchement at Paris Martyr- 
dom of De la Tour — Margaret returns hastily to Paris A Synod 

in Paris — Duprat solicits the King — Synods in other parts of 

France — Duprat and the Parliament reconciled The King 

resists the Persecution •••... 549 





Evangelisation by- the Queen of Navarre — The Queen and the 
Hunter — Le Mauvais Chasseur — Marriage of Eenee with the 
Duke of Ferrara — The King's Fit of Anger — The Image of the 
Virgin broken — Grief and Cries of the People — Efforts to dis- 
cover the Criminal — Immense Procession — Miracles worked by 
the Image — The King gives the Eein to the Persecutors. 

Page 561 




A Christaudin — Denis of Meaux — Brifonnet in Denis's Dungeon 
— The Hurdle and the Stake — The Holy Virtues of Annonay — 
Maohopolis, Eenier, and Jonas — Berquin's Cahnness in the Storm — 
Berquin arrested — Blindness of the Papacy — Out of Persecu- 
tion comes the Eeformer ....... 572 









FACTS alone do not constitute the whole of history, 
any more than the members of the body form the 
complete man. There is a soul in history as well as 
in the body, and it is this which generates, vivifies, 
and links the facts together, so that they all combiae 
to the same end. 

The instant we begin to treat of Geneva, which, 
through the ministry of Calvin, was to become the 
most powerful centre of Eeform in the sixteenth 
centuiy, one question starts up before us. 

What was the soul of the Reformation of Geneva? 
Truly, salvation by faith in Christ, who died to save — 
truly, the renewal of the heart by the word and the 
Spiiit of God. But side by side with these supreme 
elements, that are found in all the Reformations, we 
, J. VOL. I. B 


meet with secondary elements that have existed in 
one country and not in another. What we discover 
at Geneva may possibly deserve to fix the attention 
of men in our own days : the characteristic element 
of the Genevese Reform is liberty. 

Three great movements were carried out in this 
city during the first half of the sixteenth century. 
The first was the conquest of independence ; the 
second, the conquest of faith ; the third, the renova- 
tion and organisation of the Church. Berthelier, 
Farel, and Calvia are the three heroes of these three 

Each of these different movements was necessary. 
The bishop of Geneva was a temporal prince like the 
bishop of Rome ; it was difficult to deprive the bishop 
of his pastoral staff unless he were first deprived of 
his sword. The necessity of liberty for the Gospel 
and of the Gospel for liberty is now acknowledged by 
all thoughtfiil men; but it was proclaimed by the 
history of Geneva three centuries ago. 

But it may be said, a history of the Reformation 
has no concern with the secular, political, and social 
element. I have been reproached with not putting 
this sufficiently forward in the history of the Refor- 
mation of Germany, where it had relatively but little 
importance. I may perhaps be reproached with 
dwelling on it too much in the Reformation of Geneva, 
where it holds a prominent place. It is a hard matter 
to please aU tastes : the safest course is to be guided 
by the truth of principles and not by the exigencies 
of individuals. Is it my fault if an epoch possesses 
its characteristic features ? if it is impossible to keep 
back the secular, without "wi-onging the spiritual, ele- 


ment ? To cut history in two is to distort it. In 
the Reform of Geneva, and especially in the consti- 
tution of its church, the element of liberty predomi- 
nates more than in the Reforms of other countries. 
We cannot know the reason of this unless we study 
the movement which gave birth to that Reform. The 
history of the political emancipation of Geneva is in- 
teresting of itself; liberty, it has been said,* has never 
been common in the world ; it has not flourished 
in all countries or in all climates, and the periods 
when a people struggles justly for liberty are the 
privileged epochs of history. One such epoch occurred 
at the commencement of modem times; but strange 
to say, it is almost in Geneva alone that the struggles 
for liberty make the earlier decades of the sixteenth 
century a privileged time. 

It is in this small republic that we find men re- 
markable for their devotion to liberty, for their attach- 
ment to law, for the boldness of their thoughts, the 
firmness of their character, and the strength of their 
energy. In the sixteenth century, after a repose of 
some hundreds of years, humanity having recovered 
its powers, like a field that had long lain fallow, dis- 
played almost everywhere the marvels of the most 
luxuriant vegetation. Geneva is indeed the smallest 
theatre of this extraordinary fermentation ; but it was 
not the least in heroism and gi'andeur, and on that 
ground alone it deserves attention. 

There are, however, other reasons to induce us to 
this study. The struggle for liberty in Geneva was 
one of the agents of its religious transformation; 

* M. de Remusat. 
B 2 


that we may know one, we must study the other. 
Again, Calvin is the great man of this epoch ; it is 
needful, therefore, to study the country where he 
appeared. A knowledge of the history of Geneva 
before Calvin can alone enable us to understand 
the life of this great reformer. But there remains 
a third and more important reason. I am about to 
narrate the history of the Reformation of the sixteenth 
centuiy in the time of Calvin. Now, what chiefly dis- 
tinguishes the Reformation of Calvin from that of 
Luther is, that wherever it was established, it brought 
with it not only truth but liberty, and all the great de- 
velopments which these two fertile principles carry 
with them. Pohtical hberty, as we shall see, settled 
upon those hills at the southern extremity of the Leman 
lake where stands the city of Calvin, and has never 
deserted them since. And more than this : earthly 
liberty, the faithful companion of divine truth, ap- 
peared at the same time with her in the Low Coun- 
tries, in England, ia Scotland, and subsequently ia 
North America and other places besides, everywhere 
creating powerful nations. The Reformation of Calvin 
is that of modern times ; it is the religion destined for 
the whole world. Being profoundly spu-itual, it sub- 
serves also in an admirable manner all the temporal 
interests of man. It has the promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come. 

The free institutions of Protestant countries are not 
due solely to the Reformation of Calvia : they spring 
from various sources, and are not of foreign importa- 
tion. The elements of liberty were in the blood of 
these nations, and remarkable men exerted a civilising 
influence over them. Magna Chai-ta is older than 

CHAP. I. Calvin's influence on politics. 5 

the Genevese Eeform; but we believe (though we 
may be mistaken) that this Reformation has had 
some small share in the introduction of those consti- 
tutional principles, without which nations can never 
attain their majority. Whence did this influence 
proceed ? 

The people of Geneva and. their great doctor have 
each left their stamp on the Reformation which issued 
from their walls: Calvin's was truth, the people's, 
liberty. This last consideration compels us to narrate 
the struggles of which Geneva was the theatre, and 
which, though almost unknown up to the present hour, 
have aided, like a slender brook, to swell the great 
stream of modern civilisation. But there was a second 
and more potent cause. Supreme among the great 
principles that Calvin has diff'used is the sovereignty 
of God. He has enjoined us to render unto Ccesar the 
things that are Ccesar' s ; but he has added : ' God must 
always retain the sovereign empire, and all that 
may belong to man remains subordinate. Obedience 
towards princes accords with God's service; but if 
princes usurp any portion of the authority of God, we 
must obey them only so far as may be done without 
offending God.'* If my conscience is thoroughly 
subject to God, I am free as regards men; but if I 
cling to anything besides heaven, men may easily 
enslave me. True liberty exists only in the higher 
regions. The bird that skims the earth may lose it at 
any moment ; but we cannot ravish it from the eagle 
who soars among the clouds. 

The great movements in the way of law and 

* Calvin, Harmonic evangeligue, Matt. xx. 21. 


liberty effected by the people in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, have certain relations with 
the Reformation of Calvin, which it is impossible 
to ignore. 

As soon as Guy de Bres and many others returned 
from Geneva to the Low Countries, the great contest 
between the rights of the people and the revolutionary 
and bloody despotism of PhUip II. began ; heroic 
struggles took place, and the creation of the United 
Provinces was their glorious termination. 

John Knox returned to his native Scotland from 
Geneva, where he had spent several years; then 
popery, arbitrary power, and the immorality of a 
French court made way in that noble countiy for that 
enthusiasm for the gospel, Hberty, and holiness, which 
has never since failed to kindle the ardent souls of its 
energetic people. 

Numberless friends and disciples of Calvin car- 
ried with them every year into France the principles 
of civil and political Hberty;* and a fierce struggle 
began with popery and the despotism, of the Valois 
first, and afterwards of the Boui'bons. And though 
these princes sought to destroy the liberties for which 
the Huguenots shed their blood, their imperishable 
traces still remain among that illustrious nation. 

The Englishmen who, during the bloody persecution 
of Mary, had sought an asylum at Geneva imbibed 
there a love for the gospel and for liberty. When they 
returned to England, a fountain gushed out beneath 
their footsteps. The waters confined by Elizabeth 
to a nan-ow chamiel, rose under her successors and 

* Among otliar political -m-itings of Caivin's disciples see La Gmde 
franl-c, Le liiveiUe-mcdm des Francois et de leurs voisins, fc. 


swiftly became an impetuous roaiing flood, wliGse 
insolent waves swept away the throne itself iu their 
violent course. But restored to their bed by the wise 
hand of William of Orange, the dashing torrent sank 
into a smiling stream, bearing prosperity and life 

Lastly, Calvin was the founder of the greatest of 
republics. The ' pilgrims ' who left then- country in 
the reign of James I., and, landing on the barren 
shores of New England, founded populous and 
mighty colonies, are his sons, his direct and legiti- 
mate sons ; and that American nation which we have 
seen growing so rapidly boasts as its father the humble 
reformer on the shores of the Leman. 

There are, indeed, wiiters of eminence who charge 
this man of God with despotism ; because he was the 
enemy of Hbertinage, he has been called the enemy of 
liberty. Nobody was more opposed than Calvin to 
that moral and social anarchy which threatened the 
sixteenth century, and which ruins every epoch unable 
to keep it under control. This bold struggle of Calvin's 
is one of the greatest services he has done to liberty, 
which has no enemies more dangerous than immo- 
rality and disorder. 

Should the question be asked, How ought infidelity 
to be arrested ? we must confess that Calvin was 
not before his age, which was unanimous, in every 
communion, for the application of the severest punish- 
ments. If a man is in error as regards the know- 
ledge of God, it is to God alone that he must render 
an account. When men — and they are sometimes 
the best of men — make themselves the avengers of 
God, the conscience is startled, and religion hides her 


face. It was not so three centuries back, and the 
most eminent minds always pay in one manner or 
another their tribute to human weakness. And yet, 
on a well-known occasion, when a wretched man, 
whose doctrines threatened society, stood before the 
civil tribunals of Geneva, there was but one voice in 
all Europe raised in favour of the prisoner ; but one 
voice that prayed for some mitigation of Servetus's 
punishment, and that voice was Calvin's.* 

However inveterate the prejudices against him may 
be, the indisputable evidence of history places Calvin 
among the fathers of modern liberty. It is possible 
that we may find impartial men gradually lending 
their ear to the honest and solemn testimony of past 
ages ; and the more the world recognises the import- 
ance and universality of the Reformation which came 
forth from Geneva, the more shall we be excused for 
directing attention for a few moments to the heroic 
age of this obscure city. 

The sixteenth century is the greatest in Christian 
times; it is the epoch where (so to speak) everything 
ends and everything begins; nothing is paltry, not 
even dissipation ; nothing small, not even a little city 
lying unobserved at the foot of the Alps. 

In that renovating age, so fuU of antagonist forces 
and energetic struggles, the rehgious movements did 

* 'Poenss vero atrocitatem remitti cupio,' (^Calvin to Farel, Aug. 26, 
1553.) Calvin appears afterwards to have prevailed on his colleagues to 
joia Mm : 'Genus mortis conati sumus mutare, sed frustra.' 'We endea- 
voured to change the manner of his death, hut in vain ; why did we not 
succeed ? I shaU defer telling you \mtil I see you.' {Same to same, Oct. 
26,1553.) Farel repUed to Calvia, 'By desiring to soften the severity 
of Hs punishment you acted as a friend towards a man who is your 
greatest enemy.' 


not proceed from a single centre ; they emanated from 
opposite poles, and are mentioned in the well-known 
line — 

Je ne decide pas entre Geneve et Eome,* 

The Catholic focus was in Italy — in the metro- 
pohs of the ancient world; the evangelical focus 
in Germany was transferred from Wittemberg to the 
middle of European nations — to the smallest of cities 
— to that whose history I have to relate. 

When history treats of certain epochs, as for in- 
stance the reign of Charles V., there may be a certain 
disadvantage in the vastness of the stage on which 
the action passes ; we may complain that the principal 
actor, however colossal, is necessarily dwarfed. This 
inconvenience will not be found in the narrative I 
have undertaken. If the empire of Charles V. was the 
largest theatre in modern history, Geneva was the 
smallest. In the one case we have a vast empire, 
in the other a microscopical republic. But the 
smallness of the theatre serves to bring out more 
prominently the greatness of the actions : only 
superficial minds turn with contempt from a sub- 
lime drama because the stage is narrow and the 
representation devoid of pomp. To study great 
things in small is one of the most useful exercises. 
What I have in view — and this is my apology — is 
not to describe a petty city of the Alps, for that 
would not be worth the labour ; but to study in that 
city a history which is in the main a reflection of the 
history of Europe, — of its sufferings, its struggles, its 
aspirations, its political liberties, and its religious 

* La Henriade, 


transformations. I will confess that my attachment 
to the land of my birth may have led me to examine 
our annals rather too closely, and narrate them at too 
gi'eat length. This attachment to my country which 
has cheered me in my task, may possibly expose me to 
reproach ; but I hope it will rather be my justifi- 
cation. ' This book,' said Tacitus, at the beginning 
of one of his immortal works, 'was dictated by 
affection: that must be its praise, or at least its 
excuse.' * Shall we be forbidden to shelter ourselves 
humbly behind the lofty stature of the prince of 
history ? 

Modem liberties proceed from three different 
sources, from the union of three characters, three 
laws, three conquests — the Koman, the German, and 
the Christian. The combination of these three in- 
fluences, which has made modem Europe, is found in 
a rather striking manner in the valley of the Leman. 
The three torrents from north, south, and east, whose 
union forms the great stream of civilisation, deposited 
in that valley which the Creator hoUowed out between 
the Alps and the Jura that precious sediment whose 
component parts can easily be distinguished after 
so many ages. 

First we come upon the Eoman element in Geneva. 
This city was for a long while part of the empu-e; 
'it was the remotest town of the Allobroges,' says 
Caesar, f About a league from Geneva there once 
stood an antique marble in honour of Fabius Maximus 
Allobrogicus,whol22 years before Christ had triumphed 

* ' Hie enim liber profe3sione pietatis, aut laudatus erit, aut excu- 
satua.' — Tacitus, Agricola, iii. 

f 'Extremum oppidum Allobrogum.' — De Bella GcHlico, i. 6. 


over the people of this district ;* and the great Julius 
himself, who constructed immense works round the 
city, bequeathed his name to a number of Roman 
colonists, or clients at least. More remarkable ti'aces 
— their municipal institutions — are found in most 
of the cities which the Eomans occupied ; we may be 
permitted to believe that Geneva was not without 

In the fifth century the second element of modern 
liberties appeared with the Germans. The Burgun- 
dians — those Teutons of the Oder, the Vistula, and 
the Warta — being already converted to Cluistianity, 
poured their bands into the vast basin of the Rhone, 
and a spirit of independence, issuing from the distant 
forests of the north, breathed on the shores of the 
Leman lake. The Burgundian tribe, however, com- 
bined with the vigour of the other Germans a milder 
and more civilising temperament. Eing Gondebald 
bmlt a palace at Geneva ; an inscription placed fifteen 
feet above the gate of the castle, and which remains 
to this day, bears the words, Gundehadus rex cle- 
mentissimus, &c. f From tliis castle departed the 
king's niece, the famous ClotUda, who, by marrying 
Clo"\'is, converted to Christianity the founder of the 
French monarchy. If the Franks then received the 
Christian faith from Geneva, many of their descendants 
in the days of Calvin received the Reformation from 
the same place. 

* SpoHj Sist. de Qenhxe, livie i. 

t Inscription de Gondebaud a Genive, by Ed. Mallet, in the Memoires 
d^ Archeologie, t. iv. p. 305. Professor A. de la Rive, having built a 
house in 1840 on the site of the old castle, the gate or arcade was pulled 
down, and the stone with the inscription placed in the Museum of the 


Clotilda's uncle repaired the breaches in the city 
walls, and having assembled his ablest counsellors, 
drew up those Burgundian laws which defended small 
and great alike, and protected the life and honour of 
man against injury.* 

The first kingdom foxmded by the Burgundians 
did not, however, last long. In 534 it fell into the 
hands of the Merovingian kings, and the history of 
Geneva was absorbed in that of France until 888, 
the epoch when the second kingdom of Burgundy 
rose out of the ruins of the majestic but ephemeral 
empu*e of Charlemagne. 

But long before the invasion of the Burgundians m 
the fifth century, a portion of Europe, and Geneva in 
particular, had submitted to another conquest. In the 
second century Christianity had its representatives in 
almost every part of the Roman world. In the time of 
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and of Bishop Irenseus 
(177) some persecuted Christians of Lyons and Vienne, 
in Dauphiny, wishing to escape from the flames and the 
wild beasts to which Rome was flinging the children of 
God, and desirous of trying whether their pious ac- 
tivity could not bear fruit in some other soil, had 
ascended the formidable waters of the Rhone, and, 
coming to the foot of the Alps — refage and refugees 
are of old date in this country ■^- brought the gospel 
thither, as other refugees, coming also from Gaul, and 
also fleeing their persecutors, were foui'teen centuries 
later to bring the Reformation. It seems they were 
only disciples, humble presbyters and evangehsts, who 

* ' Ordinum Consilium Genevas habitum est in quo nov£8 leges ab illo 
rege (Gondebald) late . . . .'—Fragment quoted by Qodefroy. 


in the second and third century first proclaimed the 
divine word on the shores of the Leman; we may 
therefore suppose that the Church was instituted in 
its simplest form. At least it was not until two cen- 
turies later, in 381, that Geneva had a bishop, Dio- 
genes,* and even this first bishop is disputed.f Be 
that as it may, the gospel which the refugees brought 
into the valley lying between the Alps and the Jura, 
proclaimed, as it does everywhere, the equality of all 
men before God, and thus laid the foundations of its 
future liberties. 

Thus were commingled in this region the gene- 
rating elements of modern institutions. Caesar, Gon- 
debald, and an unknown missionary represent, so to 
speak, the three strata that form the Genevese soU. 

Let us here sketch rapidly a few salient points of 
the ancient history of Geneva. The foundations upon 
which a building stands are certainly not the most 
interesting part, but they are perhaps the most neces- 

* List of tte Bisliops of Geneva, according to Bonivard. Gaterel, 
Hist, de VEglise de Oenive, Pieces justificatives, p. 4 

t M. Baulacre {CEuvres, i. p. 37) is of opinion that tliis Diogenes 
was a Genoese Hsliop, 




r\ EJSTEVA was at first nothing but a rural township 
vJ (vicus), with a municipal council and an edile. 
Under Honorius in the 4th century it had become 
a city, having probably received this title after 
Caracalla had extended the rights of citizenship to all 
the Gauls. From the earliest times, either before or 
after Charlemagne, Geneva possessed rights and liber- 
ties which guaranteed the citizens against the despotism 
of its feudal lord. But did it possess political insti- 
tutions ? was the community organised ? Informa- 
tion is wanting on these points. In the beginning of 
the sixteenth century the Genevese claimed to have 
been free so long that the memory of man runneth not 
to the contrary.* But this 'memory of man' might 
not embrace many centuries. 

The pope having invited Charlemagne to march 
his Franks into Italy, for the love of God, and to 
fight against his enemies, that prince proceeded thither 
in 773 with a numerous army, part of which crossed 
Mount St. Bernard, thus pointing the way to another 
Charlemagne who was to appear a thousand years 
later, and whose empire, more brilliant but stiU 

* ' Tanto tempore, quod de contrario menioria liominis non extitit.' — 
Libertates Oebennenses, Mem. S ArcMologie, ii. p. 312. 


more ephemeral than the first, was also in its dissolu- 
tion to restore liberty to Geneva, which had been a 
second time absorbed into France.* Charlemagne, 
while passing through with his army, halted at 
Geneva and held a councU.f This word has led to 
the belief that the city possessed liberties and privileges, 
and that he confirmed them ; J but the council was 
probably composed of the councillors around the prince, 
and was not a city council. Be that as it may, the 
origin of the liberties of Geneva seems to be hidden in 
the night of time. 

Three powers in their turn threatened these liberties. 

First came the counts of Geneva. They were 
originally, as it would seem, merely officers of the 
Emperor ;§ but gradually became almost independent 

As early as 1091, we meet with an Aymon, count of 
Genevois.|| The rule of these counts of Genevois 
soon extended over a wide and magnificent territory. 
They resided not only at their hereditary manor-seat 
in Geneva, which stood on the site of Gondebald's 
palace, but also in various castles scattered in distant 

* ' Oum toto Francorum exercitu Gebennam venit 

et copiarum partem per montein Jo"vi3 ire jussit.' — Bginhardi Annates. 
These words of the ancient annals may be applied to Napoleon I. as well 
as to Charlemagne. The First Consul Bonaparte passed through Geneva 
on his way to Marengo, May 1800. 

t ' Geuevamque civitatem veniens synodum tenuit.' (See the Mtmu- 
menta Uistorice Germardcts of Pertz, torn. i. ann. 773 ; the Chronicle of 
Regino, pp. 657, 558 ; Eginhardi Annates, p. 150.) 

X Spon states this positively, i. p. 59. 

§ ' In Burgundia in pago Genevensi, uhi pater ejus comes fnit. Bene- 
ficium non grande.' — Eginhardi Epistolm, pp. 26, 27. 

II Comes Genevensium. Guichenon, BM. Oeb. cent. ii. — See also 
(circa 1140) Peter the Venerable, de Miracutis, lib. ii. 


parts of their domain — at Annecy, Rumilly, La Roche, 
Lausanne, Moudon, Romont, Rue, Les Glees, and other 
places.* In those days, the counts lived both a soli- 
tary and turbulent Hfe, such as characterised the feudal 
period. At one time they were shut up in their 
castles, which were for the most part surrounded by a 
few small houses, and begirt with fosses and draw- 
bridges, and on whose walls could be seen afar the arms 
of the warders glittering in the rising sun. At other 
times, they would sally forth, attended by a numerous 
escort of officers, with their seneschal, marshal, cup- 
bearers, falconers, pages, and esquires, either in pur- 
suit of the chase on the heights of the Jura and the 
Alps ; or it might be with the pious motive of visiting 
some place of pilgrimage ; or not unfrequently indeed 
to wage harassing crusades against their neighbours 
or their vassals. But during all these feudal agita- 
tions another power was growing in Geneva — a power 
humble indeed at first — but whose mouth was to 
speah great things.^ 

At the period of the Burgundian conquest Geneva 
possessed a bishop, and the invasion of the Germans 
soon gave this prelate considerable power. Gifted with 
intelligence far superior to that of the men by whom 
they were surrounded, respected by the barbarians as 
the high-priests of Rome, knowing how to acquire vast 
possessions by slow degrees, and thus becoming the 
most important personages in the cities where they re- 
sided, the bishops laboured to protect their city from 

* Spon'a Sistoire de Oenbve, i. p. 71. Galiffe, jun. Introduction ci. 
V Armorial genevois, p. 9. Hiseli, Les Comtes de Geiiive et de Vaud 
pp. A, 18. 

t Daniel, vii. 8. 


abroad and to govern it at home. Finally they con- 
fiscated without much ceremony the independence of 
the people, and united the quality of priace with that 
of bishop. 

In 1124 Ajrmon, Count of Genevois, by an agree- 
ment made with Humbert of Grammont, Bishop 
of Geneva, gave up the city to the latter,* reserving 
only the old palace and part of the criminal jurispru- 
dence, but continuing to hold the secondary towns 
and the rural district. 

The institution of bishop-princes, half religious and 
half political, equally in disaccord with the Gospel of 
past ages and the liberty of the future, may have been 
exceptionally beneficent; but generally speaking it 
was a misfortune for the people of the middle ages, 
and particularly for Geneva. If at that time the 
Church had possessed humble but earnest ministei-s 
to hold up the light of the Gospel to the world, Avhy 
should not the same spiritual power, which ia the 
first century had vanquished Roman polytheism, have 
been able in later times to dispel the darkness of 
feudalism ? But what could be expected of pre- 
lates who turned their croziers into swords, their 
flocks into serfs, their pastoral dwellings iQto fortified 
castles ? Corruptio optimi pessima. The prince- 
bishop, that amphibious offspring of the barbaric 
invasion, cannot be maintained in Christendom. The 
petty people of Geneva — and tliis is one of its titles 
to renown — was the first who expelled him in mo- 
dem times ; and the manner in which it did this is 
one of the pages of history we desii-e to transcribe. 

* ' Totaa Gebennas episcopo in pace dimisit.' (The document will be 
found in the P&ces Jwstificatives of Spon, No. 1.) 


It needed truly a powerful energy — the arm of 
God — to undertake and carry through this first 
act which wi'ested from episcopal hands the tem- 
poral sceptre they had usurped. Since then the 
example of Geneva has often been followed ; the 
feudal thrones of the bishops have fallen on the 
banks of the Ehine, in Belgium, Bavaria, Austria, 
and elsewhere ; but the first throne that fell was that 
of Geneva, as the last will be that of Rome, 

If the bishop, owing to the support of the em- 
perors, succeeded in oustiag the count from the city 
of Geneva, leaving him only the jurisdiction over 
his rural vassals, he succeeded also, in the natural 
course of things, in suppressing the popular franchises. 
These rights, however, still subsisted, the prince- 
bishop being elected by the people — a fact recorded 
by Saint Bernard at the election of Ardutius.* The 
prince even made oath of fidelity to the people. 
Occasionally the citizens opposed the prelate's en- 
croachments, and refused to be dragged before the 
com-t of Rome.f 

Christianity was intended to be a power of Hberty; 
Eome, by corrupting it, made it a power of despotism ; 
Calvin, by regenerating it, set it up again and restored 
its first work. 

But what threatened most the independence and 
Hberty of Geneva, was not the bishops and counts, 
but a power alien to it, that had begun by robbing 
the counts of their towns and villages. The house of 
Savoy, devoured by an insatiable ambition, strove to 
enlarge its dominions with a skill and perseverance 

* ' Tanto cleri populique consensu.' — Bemardi Epist. xxvii. 

t ' Si vos in curia Eomana in causam traheret.' — Conventiones an. 1286. 


that were crowned with the most rapid success. 
When the princes of Savoy had taken the place of 
the counts of Genevois and the dukes of Zcehringen 
in the Pays de Vaud, Geneva, which they looked 
upon as an enclave^ became the constant object of 
their desires. They hovered for centuries over the 
ancient city, like those Alpine vultures which, spread- 
ing their wiags aloft among the clouds, explore the 
country beneath with their glance, swoop down upon 
the prey, and return day after day until they have 
devoured each fragment. Savoy had her eyes fixed 
upon Geneva, — first, through ambition, because the 
possession of this important city would round off and 
strengthen her territory ; and second, through calcula- 
tion, because she discovered in this little state certain 
principles of right and liberty that alarmed her. 
What would become of the absolute power of princes, 
obtained at the cost of so many usurpations, if liberal 
theories should make their way into European law ? 
A nest built among the craggy rocks of the Alps may 
perhaps contain a brood of inoffensive eaglets ; but 
as soon as their wings grow, they will soar into the 
air, and with their piercing eyes discover the prey and 
seize it from afar. The safer course, then, is for some 
strong hand to kill them in their nest while young. 

The relations between Savoy and Geneva — one 
representing absolutism, the other liberty — have been 
and are still frequently overlooked. They are of 
importance, however, to the history of Geneva, and 
even of the Eeformation. For this reason we are 
desirous of sketching them. 

The terrible struggle of which we have just spoken 
began in the first half of the thirteenth century. The 

c 2 


house of Savoy finding two powers at Geneva and in 
Genevois, the bishop and the count, resolved to take 
advantage of their dissensions to creep both into the 
province and into the city, and to take their place. 
It declared first in favour of the bishop against the 
count, the more powei-ful of the two, in order to 
despoil him. Peter of Savoy, Canon of Lausanne, be- 
came in 1229, at the age of twenty-six. Provost of the 
Canons of Geneva ; and having thus an opportunity 
of knowing the city, of appreciating the importance 
of its situation, and discovering the beauties that lay 
around it, he took a liking to it. Being a younger son 
of a Count of Savoy, he could easily have become a 
bishop ; but under his amice, the canon concealed the 
arm of a soldier and the genius of a politician. On the 
death of his father in 1232, he threw off his cassock, 
turned soldier, married Agnes whom the Count of 
Faucigny made his heiress at the expense of her elder 
sister, and then took to freebooting.* Somewhat later, 
being the uncle of Elinor of Provence, Queen of Eng- 
land, he was created Earl of Richmond by his nephew 
Henry III., and studied the art of government in 
London. But the banks of the Thames could not make 
him forget those of the Leman. The castle of Geneva 
remained, as we have seen above, the private property 
of his enemy the Count of Geneva, and this he made 
up his mind to seize. ' A wise man,' says an old 
chronicler, 'of lofty stature and athletic strength, 
proud, daring, terrible as a lion, resembling the most 
famous paladins, so brave that he was called the 
valiant (jjreux) Charlemagne' — possessing the organ- 

* 'Faisaitle (/art,' in the language of the clironiclers. Wustemberger 
Peter der Zweyte, i. p. 123. 


ising genius that founds states and the -warlike 
disposition that conquers them — Peter seized the 
castle of Geneva in 1250, and held it as a security for 
35,000 silver marks which he pretended the count 
owed him. He was now somebody in the city. Being 
a man of restless activity, enterprising spirit, rare 
skill, and indefatigable perseverance, he used this foun- 
dation on which to raise the edifice of his greatness 
in the valley of the Leman.* The people of Geneva, 
beginning to grow weary of ecclesiastical authority, 
desired to enjoy freely those communal franchises 
which the clergy called 'the worst of institutions. 'f 
When he became Count of Savoy, Peter, who had 
conceived the design of annexing Geneva to his 
hereditary states, promised to give the citizens all 
they wanted ; and the latter, who already (two 
centuries and a half before the Reformation) desired 
to shake off the temporal yoke of their bishop, put 
themselves under his guardianship. But erelong 
they grew alarmed, they feared the sword of the 
warrior more than the staff of the shepherd, and 
were content with their clerical government 

De peur d'en rencontrer un pire, J 

In 1267 the second Charlemagne was forced to 
declare by a public act that he refused to take 
Geneva under his protection. § Disgusted with this 

* 'L' animo irrequieto ed intraprendente del Principe Pietro.' — Datta, 
Hist, dei Prindpi, i. p. 5. 

f 'Commmiioj novum ao pessinnim nomen.' — Script. JRev. Franc, xii. 
p. 250. 

\ 'For fear of finding a worse.' 

§ ' Oommunitatem de Gebennia in gardam non recipiemus.' — Treaty 
between the count and the bishop ; Mem. (H ArcMologie, vii. pp. 196-258, 
and 318, 319. 


failure, weakened by age, and exhausted by his 
unceasing activity, Peter retired to his castle at 
Ohillon, where every day he used to sail on that 
beautiful lake, luxuriously enjoying the charms of 
nature that lay around ; while the harmonious voice 
of a minstrel, mingling with the rippling of the 
waters, celebrated before him the lofty deeds of the 
illustrious paladin. He died in 1268.* 

Twenty years later Amadeus Y . boldly renewed the 
assault in which his uncle had failed. A man fuU 
of ambition and genius, and surnamed ' the Great,' 
he possessed all the qualities of success. The stan- 
dard of the prince must float over the walls of that 
free city, Amadeus already possessed a mansion in 
Geneva, the old palace of the counts of Genevois, 
situated in the upper part of the city. He wished to 
have more, and the canons gave him the opportunity 
which he sought of beginning his conquest. During 
a vacancy of the episcopal see, these reverend fathers 
were divided, and those who were hostUe to Amadeus 
having been threatened by some of his party, took 
refuge in alarm in the Chateau de I'lle. This castle 
Amadeus seized, being determined to show them that 
neither strong walls nor the two arms of the river 
which encircle the island could protect them against 
his wi-ath. This conquest gave him no authority in 
the city; but Savoy was able more than once to use 
it for its ambitious projects. It was here in 1518 
shortly after the appearance of Luther, that the most 

* Mmummta Hist. Patrice, iii. p. 174. Mr. Ed. MaUet thinks but 
without authority, that Peter died at Pierre-Chatel in Bugey. See' also 
Pierre de Savoie d'aprbs M. Cibrario, by P. de Gingins. 


intrepid martyr of modern liberty was sacrificed by 
the bishop and the duke. 

Amadeus could not rest satisfied with his two 
castles : in order to be master in Geneva, he did not 
disdain to become a servant. As it was unlawful for 
bishops, ia their quality of churchmen, to shed blood, 
there was an officer commissioned in all the eccle- 
siastical principalities to inflict the punishment of 
death, vice domini^ and hence this lieutenant was 
called vidomne or vidame. Amadeus claimed this 
vidamy as the reward of his services. In vain did 
the citizens, uneasy at the thought of so powerful 
a vidame, meet in the church of St. Magdalen 
(November 1288); in vain did the bishop forbid 
Amadeus, ' in the name of God, of the glorious Virgin 
Mary, of St. Peter, St. Paul, and all the saints, to 
usurp the office of lieutenant,'* the vulture held the 
vidamy in his talons and would not let it go. The 
citizens jeered at this sovereign priuce who turned 
himself into a civil officer. ' A pretty emplojnnent 
for a prince — it is a ministry {minister e) not a 
magistry (inagistere) — service not dominion.' ' Well, 
well,' replied the Savoyard, 'I shaU know how to 
turn the valet into a master.' f 

The princes of Savoy, who had combined with the 
bishop against the Comit of Geneva to oust the latter, 
having succeeded so weU in their first campaign, 
undertook a second, and joined the citizens against 
the bishop in order to supplant him. Amadeus 

• ' Quod ullus alius princeps, baro, vel comes liabeat in eadem (oivitate) 
aliquam jurisdictionem.' — Mem. ^ Archeologie, viii. Pieces Justificatives, 
p. 241. 

t Sayyon, Annales, pp. 16-18. 


became a liberal. He knew weU that you cannot 
gain the hearts of a people better than by becoming the 
defender of their liberties. He said to the citizens in 
1285, ' We will maintain^ guard, and defend your 
city and goods, your rights and franchises, and all that 
belongs to you.' * If Amadeus was willing to defend 
the liberties of Geneva, it is a proof that they existed : 
his language is that of a conservative and not of an 
innovator. The year 1285 did not, as some have 
thought, witness the first origin of the franchises of 
Geneva but their revival. There was however at 
that time an outgrowth of these hberties. The muni- 
cipal institutions became more perfect. The citi- 
zens, taking advantage of Amadeus's support, elected 
rectors of the city, voted taxes, and conferred the 
freedom of the city upon foreigners. But the ambi- 
tious prince had calculated falsely. By aiding the 
citizens to form a coi'poration strong enough to defend 
their ancient liberties, he raised with imprudent hand 
a bulwark against which all tiie plans of his successors 
were doomed to fail. 

In the fifteenth century the counts of Savoy, 
having become dukes and more eagerly desiring the 
conquest of Geneva, changed their tactics a third 
time. They thought, that as there was a pope at 
Rome, the master of the princes and principalities of 
the earth, a pontifical bull would be more potent than 
their armies and intrigues to bring Geneva under 
the power of Savoy. 

It was Duke Amadeus VIII. who began this new 

* ' Villam vestram, nee non bona et jura vestra et franotisiaa vestras 
.... manutenebimua, gardabimiis, et defendemus.' — Sj^on, PreUves pour 
VHistoire de Geneve, iii. p. 108. 


campaign. Not satisfied with having enlarged 
his states with the addition of Genevois, Bugey, 
Verceil, and Piedmont, which had been separated 
from it for more than a century, he petitioned Pope 
Martin V. to confer on him, for the great advantage 
of the Church, the secular authority in Geneva. 
But the syndics, councillors, and deputies of the 
city, became alarmed at the news of this fresh 
manoeuvre, and knowing that ' Eome ought not to 
lay its paw upon kingdoms,' determined to resist 
the pope hunself, if necessary, in the defence of their 
liberties, and placing their hands upon the Gospels 
they exclaimed : ' No alienation of the city or of its 
territory — this we swear.' Amadeus withdrew his 
petition; but Pope Martin Y., while staying three 
months at Geneva, on his return in 1418 from the 
Council of Constance, began to sympathise- with the 
ideas of the dukes. There was something in the 
pontiif which told him that liberty did not accord 
with the papal rule. He was alarmed at witnessing 
the liberties of the city. ' He feared those general 
councils that spoU everything,' says a manuscript 
chronicle in the Turin library ; ' he felt uneasy about 
those turbulent folk, imbued with the ideas of the 
Swiss, who were always whispering into the ears. of 
the Genevese the license of popular government.'' * 
The liberties of the Swiss were dear to the citizens 
a century before the Reformation. 

The pope resolved to remedy this, but not in the 
way the dukes of Savoy intended. These princes 

* Turin Litrary, mamiacript H. Gaberel, Hist, de VEglue de Gmive, 
i. p. 45. 


desired to secure the independence of Geneva in order 
to increase their power; while the popes preferred 
confiscating it to their own benefit. At the Council 
of Constance, from which Martin was then returning, 
it had been decreed that episcopal elections should 
take place according to the canonical forms, by the 
chapter, unless, for some reasonable and manifest 
cause the pope should think fit to name a person 
more useful to the Church.* The pontiff thought 
that the necessity of resisting popular liberty was 
a reasonable motive; and accordingly as soon as he 
reached Turin, he translated the Bishop of Geneva 
to the archiepiscopal see of the Tarentaise, and heed- 
less of the rights of the canons and citizens, nomi- 
nated Jean de Rochetaill^e, Patriarch in partibiis 
of Constantinople, Bishop and Prince of Geneva. 
Four years later Martin repeated this usurpation. 
Henry V. of England, at that time master of Paris, 
taking a dislike to Jean de Courte-Cuisse, bishop of 
that capital, the pope, of his sovereign authority, 
placed Courte-Cuisse on the episcopal throne of 
Geneva, and Rochetaillee on that of Paris. Thus 
were elections wrested by popes from a christian 
people and their representatives. This usurpation 
was to Geneva, as well as to many other parts of 
Christendom, an inexhaustible source of evils. 

It followed, among other things, that with the 
connivance of Rome, the princes of Savoy might 
become princes of Geneva. But could they insure 
this connivance? From that moment the activity 
of the court of Turin was employed in makino- 

* Harduin, Cmdl. viii. p. 887. 


interest with the popes in order to obtain the grant 
of the bishopric of Geneva for one of the princes 
or creatures of Savoy. A singular circumstance 
favoured this remarkable intrigue. Duke Amadeus 
VIII., who had been rejected by the citizens a few 
years before, succeeded in an unexpected manner. 
In 1434 having abdicated in favour of his eldest son, 
he assumed the hermit's frock at Ripaille on the Lake 
of Geneva; and the Council of Basle having nomi- 
nated him pope, he took the name of Felix V. and 
made use of his pontifical authority to create himself 
bishop and prince of Geneva. A pope making him- 
self a bishop . . . strange thing indeed ! Here is the 
key to the enigma : the pope was a prince of Savoy : 
the see was the see of Geneva. Savoy desired to 
have Geneva at any price : one might almost say that 
Pope Felix thought it an advancement in dignity to 
become a Genevan bishop. It is true that Felix 
was pope according to the episcopal, not the papal, 
system; having been elected by a council, he was 
forced to resign in consequence of the desertion of 
the majority of European princes. Geneva and 
Ripaille consoled him for Rome. 

As bishop and prince of Geneva, he respected the 
franchises of his new acquisition; but the poor city 
was fated somewhat later to serve as food to the off- 
spring of this bird of prey. In 1451, Amadeus being 
dead, Peter of Savoy, a child eight or ten years old, 
grandson of the pope, hermit, and bishop, mounted 
the episcopal throne of Geneva; in 146D came John 
Louis, another grandson, twelve years of age ; and 
in 1482 Francis, a third grandson. To the Genevans 
the family of the pope seemed inexhaustible. These 


bishops and their governors were as leeches sucking 
Geneva even to the bones and marrow. 

Their mother, Anne of Cyprus, had brought with 
her to Savoy a number of ' Cypriote leeches ' as they 
were called, and after they had drained the blood 
of her husband's states, she launched them on the 
states of her children. One Cypriote prelate, 
Thomas de Sur, whom she had appointed governor 
to little Bishop Peter, particularly distinguished 
himself in the art of robbing citizens of their money 
and their liberty. It was Bishop John Louis, the 
least wicked of the three brothers, who inflicted the 
most terrible blow on Geneva. We shall tell how 
that happened; for this dramatic episode is a picture of 
manners, carrying us back to Geneva with its bishops 
and its princes, and showing us the family of that 
Charles III. who was in the sixteenth century the 
constant enemy of the liberties and Reformation 
of the city. 

Duke Louis of Savoy, son of the pope-duke Ama- 
deus, was good-tempered, inoffensive, weak, timid, 
and sometimes choleric; his wife, Anne of Cyprus 
or Lusignan, was arrogant, ambitious, greedy, in- 
triguing, and domineering; the fifth of their sons, 
by name Philip-Monsieur, was a passionate, de- 
bauched, and violent young man. Anne, who 
had successively provided for three of her sons by 
placing them on the episcopal throne of Geneva, 
and who had never met with any opposition from 
the eldest Amadeus IX., a youth subject to epilepsy, 
had come into collision with Philip. The alterca- 
tions between them were frequent and sharp, and 
she ne^'er missed an opportunity of injurino- him 


in his father's aifections; so that the duke, who 
always yielded to his wife's wishes, left the young- 
prince without appanage. Philip Lackland (for 
such was the name he went by) angry at finding 
himself thus deprived of his rights, returned his 
mother hatred for hatred ; and instead of that 
family aflfection, which even the poets of heathen 
antiquity have often celebrated, an implacable 
enmity existed between the mother and the son. 
This Philip was destined to fill an important place 
in history; he was one day to wear the crown, 
be the father of Charles III. (brother-in-law to 
Charles V.) and grandfather of Francis I. through 
his daughter Louisa of Savoy. But at this time 
nothing announced the high destiny which he would 
afterwards attain. Constantly surrounded by young 
profligates, he passed a merry life, wandering here 
and there with his troop of scapegraces, establish- 
ing himself in castles or in farms ; and if the inhabi- 
tants objected, striking those who resisted, killing one 
and wounding another, so that he lived in continual 
quarrels. ' As my father left me no fortune,' he 
used to say, ' I take my property wherever I can 
find it.' — ' All Savoy was in discord,' say the old 
annals, 'filled with murder, assault, and riot.' * 

The companions of the young prince detested the 
Cypriote (as they called the duchess) quite as much 
as he did; and in their orgies over their brimming 
bowls used the most insulting language towards 
her. One day they insinuated that ' if she plundered 
her husband and her son it was to enrich her 

* Savyon, Amides, p. 23. 


minions.' Philip swore that he would have justice. 
Duke Louis was then lying ill of the gout at Tho- 
non, on the southern shore of the Lake of Geneva. 
Lackland went thither with his companions, and en- 
tering the chapel where mass was going on, killed his- 
mother's steward, carried off his father's chancellor, 
put him in a boat and took him to Morges, ' where 
he was drowned in the lake.' Duke Louis was 
terrified; but whither could he flee? In his own 
states there was no place where he could feel him- 
self safe ; he could see no other refuge but Geneva, 
and there he resolved to go. 

John Louis, another of his sons, was then bishop, 
and he was strong enough to resist Philip. Although 
destined from his infancy for the ecclesiastical estate, 
he had acquired neither learning nor manners, 
' seeing that it is not the custom of princes to make 
their children scholars,' say the annals. But on the 
other hand he was a good swordsman; dressed not 
as a churchman but as a soldier, and passed his 
time in 'dicing, hawking, drinking, and wenching.' 
Haughty, blunt, hot-headed, he was often magnani- 
mous, and always forgave those who had rightfully 
offended him. 'As appears,' says the old chronicle, 
' from the story of the carpenter, who having sur- 
prised him in a room with his wife, cudgelled him 
so soundly, that he was left for dead. Nevertheless, 
the bishop would not take vengeance, and went so 
far as to give the carpenter the clothes he had on 
when he was cudgelled.' 

John Louis listened favourably to his father's 
proposals. The duke, Anne of Cyprus, and all the 
Cypriote officers arrived at Geneva in July 1642, 


and were lodged at the Franciscan convent and 
elsewhere ; but none could venture outside Geneva 
without being exposed to the attacks of the terrible 

The arrogant duchess became a prey to alarm: 
being both greedy and avaricious, she trembled lest 
Philip should succeed in laying hands upon her 
treasures ; and that she might put them beyond his 
reach, she despatched them to Cyprus after this 
fashion. In the mountains near Geneva the people 
used to make very excellent cheeses; of these she 
bought a large number, wishing (she said) that her 
friends in Cyprus should taste them. She scraped 
out the inside, carefully stored her gold in the 
hollow, and therewith loaded some mules, which 
started for the East. Philip having received in- 
formation of this, stopped the caravan near Friburg, 
unloaded the mules, and took away the gold. Now 
that he held in his hands these striking proofs of the 
duchess's perfidy, he resolved to slake the hatred he 
felt towards her: he would go to Geneva, denounce 
his mother to his father, obtain from the exasperated 
prince the Cypriote's dismissal, and receive at last 
the appanage of which this woman had so long 
deprived him. 

Philip, aware that the bishop would not let him 
enter the city, resolved to get into it by stratagem. 
He repaired secretly to Nyon, and thence despatched 
to Geneva the more skilful of his confidants. They 
told the syndics and the yoxuig men of their acquaint- 

* Sa-vyon, Annates, pp. 22, 32. Galiffe, i. p. 222, Cflirmique Zatine de 


ance, that their master desired to speak to his father 
the duke about a matter of great importance. One 
of the syndics (the one, no doubt, who had charge of 
the watch) seeing nothing but what was very natural 
in this, gave instructions to the patrol ; and on the 
9th of October, Philip presenting himself at the city 
gate — at midnight, according to Savyon, who is 
contradicted by other authorities — entered and pro- 
ceeded straight to Eive, his Highness's lodging, with 
a heart full of bitterness and hatred against his cruel 
mother. We shall quote literally the ancient annals 
which describe the interview in a picturesque manner : 
— ' Philip knocks at the door ; thereupon one of the 
chamberlains coming up, asks who is there? He 
answers : "I am Philip of Savoy, I want to speak to 
my father for his profit." Whereupon the servant 
having made a report, the duke said to him : " Open 
to him in the name of all the devils, happen what 
may," and immediately the man opened the door. 
As soon as he was come in Philip bowed to his 
father, saying : " Good day, father ! " His father said : 
" God give thee bad day and bad year ! What devil 
brings thee here now?" To which Philip replied 
meekly : " It is not the devil, my lord, but God who 
brings me here to your profit, for I warn you that 
you are robbed and know it not. There is my lady 
mother leaves you nothing, so that, if you take not 
good heed, she wiU not only make your children 
after your death the poorest princes in Christendom, 
but yourself also during your life." ' 

At these words Philip opened a casket which con- 
tained the gold intended for Cyprus, and ' showed 
him the wherewithal,' say the annals. But the duke, 


fearing the storm his wife would raise, took her 
part. Monsieur then grew angry : ' You may bear 
with it if you like,' he said to his father, ' I will not. 
I will have justice of these thieves.' With these 
words he drew his sword and looked under his 
father's bed, hoping to find some Cypriotes beneath 
it, perhaps the Cjrpriote woman herself. He found 
nothing there. He then searched all the lodging 
with his band, and found nobody, for the Cypriotes 
had fled and hidden themselves in various houses 
in the city. Monsieur did not dare venture further, 
' for the people were against him,' say the annals, ' and 
for this cause he quitted his father's lodging and the 
town also without doing other harm.' * 

The duchess gave way to a burst of passion, the 
duke felt very indignant, and Bishop John Louis was 
angry. The people flocked together, and as they pre- 
vented the Cypriotes from hanging the men who had 
opened the gate to Monsieur, the duke chose another 
revenge. He represented to the bishop that his son- 
in-law Louis XL, with whom he was negotiating 
about certain towns in Dauphiny, detested the 
Genevans, and coveted their large fairs to which 
people resorted from all the country round. He 
begged him therefore to place in his hands the 
charters which gave Geneva this important privilege. 
The bishop threw open his archives to the duke; 
when the latter took the documents in question, and 
cariying them to Lyons, where Louis XL happened 
to be, gave them to him. The king immediately 

* Sarfon, Annales, pp. 24, 25. According to other documents he 
made some stay in Geneva. 

VOL. I. D 


transferred the fairs first to Bourges and then to Lyons, 
forbidding the merchants to pass through Geneva. 
This was a source of great distress to all the city. 
Was it not to her fairs, whose privileges were of 
such old standing, that Geneva owed her greatness? 
While Venice was the mart for the trade of the East, 
and Cologne for that of the West, Geneva was in a 
fau' way to become the mart of the central trade. 
Now Lyons was to increase at her expense, and the 
city would witness no longer in her thoroughfares 
that busy, restless crowd of foreigners coming from 
Genoa, Florence, Bologna, Lucca, Brittany, Gascony, 
Spain, Flanders, the banks of the Rhine, and all 
Germany. Thus the catholic or episcopal power, 
which in the eleventh century had stripped Geneva 
of her territory, stripped her of her wealth in the 
fifteenth. It needed the influx of the persecuted 
Huguenots and the industrial activity of Protestant- 
ism to recover it from the blow that the Eomish 
hierarchy had inflicted.* 

This poor tormented city enjoyed however a 
momentary respite. In the last year of the fifteenth 
century, after the scandals of Bishop Francis of 
Savoy, and his clergy and monks, a priest, whom we 
may in some respects regard as a precursor of the 
Reformation, obtained the episcopal chair. This was 
Anthony Champion, an austere man who pardoned 
nothing either in himself or others. ' I desire,' he 
said, ' to sweep the filth out of my diocese.' He 
took some trouble to do so. On the 7th of May, 

* Savyon, Annales, p. SO. Spon, Bid. de Genbve, i. p. 199. Pictet 
de Sergy, Hist, de Genive, ii. pp. 175-242. Weisa, Hist, des mfiwUs. 
pp. 217, 218. • ^ • 


1493, five hundred priests convened by him met in 
synod in the church of St. Pierre. ' Men devoted to 
God's service,' said the bishop with energy, 'ought 
to be distinguished by purity of life ; now our priests 
are given to every vice, and lead more execrable 
lives than their flocks. Some dress in open frocks, 
others assume the soldier's head-piece, others wear 
red cloaks or corslets, frequent fairs, haunt taverns 
and houses of ill fame, behave like mountebanks 
or plaj^ers, take false oaths, lend upon pawn, and 
unworthily vend indulgences to perjurers and homi- 
cides.' Thus spoke Champion, but he died eighteen 
months after the synod, and the priestly corruption 

In proportion as Geneva grew weaker. Savoy grew 
stronger. The duke, by circumstances which must 
have appeared to him providential, had lately seen 
several provinces settled on different branches of his 
house, reunited successively to his own states, and 
had thus become one of the most powerful princes 
of Europe. La Bresse, Bugey, the Genevois, Gex, 
and Vaud, replaced under his sceptre, surrounded and 
blockaded Geneva on all sides. The poor little city 
was quite lost in the midst of these wide provinces, 
bristling with castles ; and its territory was so small 
that, as they said, there were more Savoyards than 
Genevans who heard the bells of St. Pierre. The 
states of Savoy enfolded Geneva as in a net, and a 
bold stroke of the powerful duke would, it was 
thought, be sufficient to crush it. 

* Conditutiones synodales, eccl. Oenev. Register of canons, May 1493. 
Gaberel, Hist, de VEglise de Oa^ue, i. p. 56, 

D 2 


The dukes were not only around Geneva, they 
were within it. By means of their intrigues with 
the bishops, who were their fathers, sons, brothers, 
cousins, or subjects, they had crept into the city, 
and increased their influence either by flattery and 
bribes, or by threats and terror. The vulture had 
plumed the weak bird, and imagined that to devour 
him would now be an easy task. The duke by 
means of some sleight-of-hand trick, in which the 
prelate would be his accomplice, might in the 
twinkling of an eye entirely change his position — 
rise from the hospitable chair which My Lords of 
Geneva so courteously ofi"ered him, and seat himself 
proudly on a throne. How was the feeble city, 
so hunted down, gagged and fettered by its two 
oppressors, able to resist and achieve its glorious 
liberties? We shall see. 

New times were beginning in Europe, God was 
touching society with his powerful hand; I say 
'society' and not the State. Society is above the 
State ; it always preserves its right of priority, and 
in great epochs makes its initiative felt. It is not 
the State that acts upon society : the movements of 
the latter produce the transformations of the State, 
just as it is the atmosphere which directs the course 
of a ship, and not the ship which fixes the direction 
of the wind. But if society is above the State, God 
is above both. At the beginning of the sixteenth 
century God was breathing upon the human race, 
and this divine breath worked strange revivals in 
religious belief, political opinions, civilisation, letters, 
science, morals, and industry. A great reformation 
was on the eve of taldng place. 


There are also transformations in the order of 
nature ; but their march is regulated by the creative 
power in an unchangeable manner. The succession 
of seasons is always the same. The monsoons, which 
periodically blow over the Indian seas, continue 
for six months in one direction, and for the other 
six months in a contrary direction. In mankind, 
on the contrary, the wind sometimes comes for 
centuries from the same quarter. At the period 
we are describing the wind changed after blowing for 
nearly a thousand years in the same direction ; God 
impressed on it a new, vivifying, and renovating 
course. There are winds, we know, which, instead 
of urging the ship gently forward, tear the sails, 
break the masts, and cast the vessel on the rocks, 
where it goes to pieces. A school, whose seat is at 
Rome, pretends that such was the nature of the 
movement worked out in the sixteenth century. 
But whoever examines the question impartially, con- 
fesses that the wind of the Reformation has wafted 
humanity towards the happy countries of light and 
liberty, of faith and morality. 

In the beginning of the sixteenth century there 
was a living force in Geneva. The ostentatious 
mitre of the bishop, the cruel sword of the duke 
appeared to command there; and yet a new birth 
was forming within its bosom. The renovating 
principle was but a puny, shapeless germ, concealed 
in the heroic souls of a few obscure citizens ; but 
its future developments were not doubtful. There 
was no power in Christendom able to stem the 
outbreak of the human mind, awakening at the 
mighty voice of the eternal Ruler. What was to 


be feared was not that tlie progress of civiKsation 
and liberty, guided by the Divine word, would fail to 
attain its end ; but that on the contrary, by abandon- 
ing the supreme rule, the end would be overshot. 

Let us enter upon the history of the preparations 
for Reform, and contemplate the vigorous struggles 
that are about to begin at the foot of the Alps 
between despotism and liberty, ultramontanism and 
the Gospel. 





ON the 13th of April, 1513, there was great excite- 
ment in Geneva. Men were dragging cannon 
through the streets, and placing them on the walls. 
The gates were shut and sentries posted everywhere.* 
Charles de Seyssel, bishop and prince of Geneva, had 
just died on his return from a pilgrimage. He was 
a man of a mild and frank disposition, ' a right good 
person,' says the chronicler, ' and for a wonder a 
great champion of both ecclesiastical and secular 
liberty.' Duke Charles of Savoy, who was less attached 
to liberty than this good prelate, had recently had 
several sharp altercations with him. ' It was I who 
made you bishop,' haughtily said the angry duke, 
' but I will unmake you, and you shall be the poorest 
priest in the diocese.' f The bishop's crime was 
having wished to protect the liberties of the city 
against Charles's usurpations. The prince kept his 
word, and, if we may believe the old annals, got rid 
of him by poison. J 

* Mamiscript registers of tie Council of Geneva, under 13tli April, 

t Savyon, Annates de Genbve, p. 44. 
t Ibid. 


When the news of this tragical and unexpected 
death reached Geneva, the citizens were alarmed: 
they argued that no doubt the secret intention of 
the duke was to place a member of his family on 
the episcopal throne, in order thus to obtain the 
seigniory of the city. The excited citzens gathered 
in groups in the streets, and impassioned orators, 
among whom was Philibert Berthelier, addressed the 
people. The house from which this great citizen 
sprang appears to have been of high position, as 
early as the twelfth century ; but he was one of those 
noble natures who court glory by placing themselves- 
at the service of the weak. No man seemed bet- 
ter fitted to save Geneva. Just, generous, proud, 
decided, he was above all firm, true, and attached to 
what was right. His glorious ambition was not 
revolutionary: he wished to uphold the right and 
not to combat it. The end he set before himself 
was not, properly speaking, the emancipation of his 
country, but the restoration of its franchises and 
liberties. He afifected no great airs, used no big 
words, was fond of pleasure and the noisy talk of his 
companions ; but there were always observable in 
him a seriousness of thought, great energy, a strong 
wiU, and above all a supreme contempt of life. 
Enamoured of the ancient liberties of his city, he was 
always prepared to sacrifice himself for them. 

' The duke,' said Berthelier and his friends in their 
animated meetings, ' received immediate news of the 
death of the bishop, as did the pope also. The mes- 
sengers are galloping with the news, each wants to have 
his share of the skin of the dead beast.' The patriots 
argued that if the pope had long since laid hands on 


the Church, the Duke of Savoy now desired to lay his 
upon the State. Geneva would not be the first place 
that had witnessed such usurpations. Other cities of 
Burgundy, Grenoble, Gap, Valence, Die, and Lyons, 
had fallen one after the other beneath a foreign power. 
' We ourselves,' said the citizens in the energetic and 
somewhat homely language of the day, ' have had 
our wings cut so short already, that we can hardly 
spit from our walls without bespattering the duke. 
Having begun his conquest, he now wishes to com- 
plete it. He has put his snout into the city and is 
trying to get in all his body. Let us resist him. 
Is there a people whose franchises are older than 
ours? We have always been free, and there is no 
memory of man to the contrary.' * The citizens were 
resolved accordingly to close their gates against the 
influence of Savoy, and to elect a bishop themselves. 
They called to mind that when Ardutius, descending 
from his eyrie in the rocks of the Mole, was named 
bishop of Geneva, it was by the accord of clergy and 
people.f ' Come, you canons,' said they, ' choose 
us a bishop that will not let the duke put his nose 
into his soup.' J This rather vulgar expression meant 
simply this: 'Elect a bishop who will defend our 
liberties.' They had not far to seek. 

There was among the canons of Geneva one Aim6 
de Gingins, abbot of Bonmont and dean of the 
chapter, a man of noble house, and well connected 
in the Swiss cantons. His father Jacques, seignior 

♦ ' De libertatibus, franchisiis et immunitati'bus smnus cum maxima 
diligentia informati.' — Liberfates Gehennmses, Mim. cCArcMol. ii. p. 312. 
\ ' Oredimus electionem tuam, etc' — Bernardi JEpist, xxvii. 
+ Bonivard, Chrmiq. i. p. 22 ; ii. p. 230. 


of Gingins, Divonne, and other places, had been coun- 
cillor, chamberlain, and high steward to the Duke 
of Savoy, and even ambassador from him to Pope 
Paul II. Aim6, who had been appointed canon of 
St. Pierre's in Geneva when very young, was forty- 
eight years old at this time. He was 'the best 
boon-companion in the world, keeping open house 
and feasting joyously the friends of pleasure,' fond 
of hearing his companions laugh and sing, and of 
rather free manners, after the custom of the Church ; 
but he excused himself with a smile, saying, with- 
out blush or shame: 'It is a slippery sin.' M. de 
Bonmont was the most respected of the priests in 
Geneva, for while his colleagues were devoted heart 
and soul to the house of Savoy, the dfean stood by 
Geneva, and was no stranger to the aspirations 
which led so many generous minds to turn towards 
the ancient liberties. The people named him bishop 
by acclamation, and the chapter confirmed their 
choice ; and forthwith the citizens made every efi'ort 
to uphold the election. They prayed the Swiss 
cantons to support it before the pope, and sent to 
Kome ' by post both letters and agents.' * 

If this election by the chapter had been sus- 
tained, it is probable that M. de Gingins would have 
lived on good terms with the council and citizens, 
and that harmony would have been preserved. 
But the appointment of bishops, which had in olden 
times belonged to the clergy and the people, had 
passed almost everywhere to the prince and the 
pope. The election of a superior by the subor- 

* Manuscript archives of the Gingins familj'. Froment, Gestes de 
Genbve, p. 157. Savyon, AnnnUs, pp. 44, 45. 


dinates had given way to the nomination of an 
inferior by a superior. This was a misfortune: 
nothing secures a good election like the first of these 
two systems, for the interest and honour of the 
governed is always to have good governors. On 
the other hand, princes or popes generally choose 
strangers or favourites, who win neither the afi"ection 
nor esteem of their flocks or of the inferior clergy. 
The last episcopal elections at Geneva, by separating 
the episcopacy from the people and the clergy, de- 
prived the Church of the strength it so much needed, 
and facilitated the Reformation. 

Duke Charles understood the importance of the 
crisis. This prince who filled for half a century the 
throne of Savoy and Piedmont, was all his life the 
implacable enemy of Geneva. Weak but irritable, 
impatient of aU opposition yet undecided, proud, awk- 
ward, wilful, fond of pomp but without grandeur, stifi" 
but wanting firmness, not daring to face the strong, 
but always ready to be avenged on the weak, he had 
but one passion — one mania rather: to possess 
Geneva. For that he needed a docile instrument to 
lend a hand to his ambitious designs — a bishop with 
whom he could do what he pleased. Accordingly he 
looked around him for some one to oppose to the 
people's candidate, and he soon hit upon the man. 
In every party of pleasure at court there was sure 
to be found a little man, weak, slender, ill-made, 
awkward, vile in body but still more so in mmd, 
without regard for his honour, inclined rather to 
do evil than good, and suiFering under a disease 
the consequence of his debauchery. This wretch 
was John, son of a wench of Angers {communis 


generis, says Bonivard) whose house was open to 
everybody, priests and laymen alike ; sparely liberal 
with her money (for she had not the means) 'she 
was over-free with her venal affections.' Francis 
of Savoy, the third of the pope-duke's grandsons, who 
had occupied in turn the episcopal throne of Geneva, 
and who was also archbishop of Aux and bishop 
of Angers, used to 'junket with her like the rest.' 
This woman was about to become a mother, ' but she 
knew not,' says the chronicler, ' whom to select as 
the father ; the bishop being the richest of all her 
lovers, she fathered the child upon him, and it was 
reared at the expense of the putative parent.' The 
Bishop of Angers not caring to have this child in his 
diocese, sent it to his old episcopal city, where there 
were people devoted to him.* The poor little sickly 
child was accordingly brought to Geneva, and there he 
lived meanly until being called to the court of Turin, 
he had a certain retinue assigned him, three horses, a 
servant, a chaplain, and the title of bastard of Savoy. 
He then began to hold up his head, and became the 
greediest, the most intriguing, the most irregular priest 
of his day. ' That 's the man to be bishop of Geneva,' 
thought the duke : ' he is so much in my debt, he can 
refuse me nothing.' There was no bargain the bastard 
would not snap at, if he could gain either money or 
position : to give up Geneva to the duke was an easy 
matter to him. Charles sent for him. ' Cousin,' said 

* It lias been supposed that lie -was trouglit up at Angers, but I found 
in tbe ArcMves of Geneva a letter addressed to John, dated 2nd Septem- 
ber, 1513, by J. A. V&ard, a jurisconsult of Nice, wherein the latter 
congratulates the new bishop 'inclitce dvitatis Oehennanum in qua cunabulis 
lib itsque nutritus et educatus es.' Archives de Geiiive, No. 870. 


he, ' I will raise you to a bishopric, if in return you 
will make over the temporality to me.' The bastard 
promised everything : it was an unexpected means of 
paying his debt to the duke, which the latter talked 
about pretty loudly. ' He has sold us not in the ear 
but in the blade,' said Bonivard, ' for he has made 
a present of us before we belonged to him.' * 

The duke without loss of time despatched his cousin 
to Rome, under the pretext of bearing his congratu- 
lations to Leo X. who had just succeeded Julius II. f 
John the Bastard and his companions travelled so fast 
that they arrived before the Swiss. At the same time 
the court of Turin omitted nothing to secure the 
possession of a city so long coveted. First, they 
began to canvass all the cardinals they could get at. 
On the 24th February the Cardinal of St. Vital, and 
on the 1st March the Cardinal of Flisco promised 
their sei'vices to procure the bishopric of Geneva for 
John of Savoy. J On the 20th of April the Queen of 
Naples wrote to the duke, that she had recommended 
John to her nephew, the Cardinal of Aragon.§ This 
was not enough. An unforeseen circumstance fa- 
voured the designs of Savoy. 

The illustrious Leo X. who had just been raised 
to the papal throne, had formed the design of allying 
his family to one of the oldest houses in Europe. 

* Bonivard, Chrmique, i. p. 25; ii. pp. 227,228. Ibid. Police de 
Oerihie, Mem. d! ArcMologie, p. 380. Savyon, Annaks de Geneve, p. 45. 

T ' Misso legato Jolianne de Sataudia, episcopo postea Gebennensi.' 
Monumenta Historice Patrice, Script, i. p. 848, Turin. The instructions 
given by tbe duke to his cousin may be seen in tbe MSS. of the Archives 
of Geneva, No. 875. 

J See the letters in the Archives of Geneva, Nos. 872 and 873. 

§ Ibid, No. 876. 


With this intent he cast his eyes on the Princess 
Philiberta of Savoy; a pure sunple-hearted young 
gii'l, of an elevated mind, a friend to the poor, younger 
sister to the duke and Louisa of Savoy, aunt of Fran- 
cis I. and Margaret of Valois. Leo X. determined 
to ask her hand for his brother Julian the Magnifi- 
cent, lieutenant-general of the armies of the Church. 
Up to this time Julian had not lived a very edifying 
life ; he was deeply enamoured of a widow of Urbmo, 
who had borne him a son. 

To tempt the duke to this marriage, which was 
very flattering to the parvenus of Florence, the pope 
made ' many promises,' say the Italian documents.* 
He even sent an envoy to the court of Turin to teU 
Charles that he might ' expect from him aU that 
the best of sons may expect from the tenderest of 

The afiair could only be decided at Rome, and 
Leo X. took much trouble about it. He received the 
bastard of Savoy with the greatest honour, and this 
disagreeable person had the chief place at banquet, 
theatre, and concert. Leo took pleasure in talking 
with him, and made him describe Philiberta's charms. 
As for making him bishop of Geneva, that did not 
cause the least difficulty. The pope cared nothing 
for Dean de Bonmont, the chapter, or the Genevans. 
' Let the duke give us his sister, and we will give 
you Geneva,' said he to the graceless candidate. ' You 
will then make over the temporal power to the duke. 

* ' Leo X. Sabaudianum ducem ad aiBnitatem ineundam multis polUcitis 
invitavit.' — Monumenta Histories Patri(r, Script, i. p. 81-4. Turin, 1840. 

f ' Omnia expectare qute ab optimo filio de patre amantissimo sunt 
expectauda.' — Letter of Bcmho in the papers name, 3rd April, 1513. 


. . . The court of Rome will not oppose it; on tlie 
contrary, it will support you.' Everything was settled 
between the pope, the duke, and the bastard. ' John 
of Savoy,' says a manuscript, ' swore to hand over the 
temporal jurisdiction of the city to the duke, and the 
pope swore he would force the city to consent under 
pain of incurring the thunders of the Vatican.' * 

This business was hardly finished when the Swiss 
envoys arrived, empowered to procure the confirmation 
of Dean de Bonmont in his office of bishop. Simple 
and upright but far less skilful than the Romans and 
the Piedmontese, they appeared before the pope. 
Alas ! these Alpine shepherds had no princess to offer 
to the Medici. ' Nescio vos,' said Leo X. ' Begone, I 
know you not.' He had his reasons for this rebuff; 
he had already nominated the bastard of Savoy bishop 
of Geneva. 

It was impossible to do a greater injury to any 
church. For an authority, and especially an elective 
authority, to be legitimate, it ought to, be in the 
hands of the best and most intelligent, and he who 
exercises it, while administering with zeal, should 
not infringe the liberties of those he governs. But 
these are ideas that never occurred to the worth- 
less man, appointed by the pope chief pastor of 
Geneva. He immediately however found flatterers. 
They wrote to hinn (and the letters are in the Archives 

* I found tHa MS. in the library at Berne (Sistoire Hehetique, v. 12). 
It is entitled, Sistoire de la VUle de Oeneve, by J. Bonivard. The history 
is not by Bonivard : it was copied at Beme in 1705 from an old MS. 
in the possession of Ami Favre, first syndic. Although not known at 
Geneva, it contains many important circnmatances that Spon and Gautier 
have omitted either from timidity or by order, says Haller. I shall call 
it the Beme MS. v, 12. 


of Geneva) that his election had been made hy the 
flock . . . ' not by mortal favour, but by God's aid 
alone.' It was however by the favour of the Queen of 
Naples, of Charles III,, and by several other very 
mortal favours, that he had been nominated. He 
was exhorted to govern his church with integrity, 
justice, and diligence, as became his singular gravity 
and virtue* The bastard did not make much account 
of these exhortations ; his reign was a miserable farce, 
a long scandal. Leo X. was not a lucky man. By the 
traffic in indulgences he provoked the Reformation of 
Wittemberg, and by the election of the bastard he paved 
the way for the Eeformation of Geneva. These are 
two false steps for which Rome has paid dearly. 

The news of this election fiUed the hearts of the 
Genevan patriots with sorrow and indignation. They 
assembled in the public places, murmuring and ' com- 
plaining to one another,' and the voices of Bertheher 
and Hugues were heard above all the rest. They 
declared they did not want the bastard, that they 
already had a bishop, honoured by Geneva and all the 
league, and who had every right to the see because 
he was dean of the chapter. They insinuated that if 
Leo X. presumed to substitute this intrusive Savoyard 
for their legitimate bishop, it was because the house 
of Savoy wished to lay hands upon Geneva. They 
were especially exasperated at the well-known cha- 
racter of the Romish candidate. 'A fine election 
indeed his Holiness has honoured us with ! ' said they. 
' For our bishop he gives us a disreputable clerk ; for 
our guide in the paths of virtue, a dissipated bastard ; 

* 'Pro tua singular! gravitate atquc virtute.' — Arch, de Gen. No. 879. 


for the preserver of our ancient and venerable liber- 
ties, a scoundrel ready to seU them.' . . . Nor did 
they stop at murmurs; BertheUer and his friends 
remarked that as the storm came from the South, 
they ought to seek a shelter in the North ; and 
though Savoy raised her foot against Geneva to crush 
it, Switzerland stretched out her hand to save it. 
'Let us be masters at home,' they said, 'and shut 
the gates against the pope's candidate.' 

All did not think alike : timid men, servile priests, 
and interested friends of Savoy trembled as they 
heard this bold language. They thought, that if they 
rejected the bishop sent from Eome, the pope would 
launch his thunders and the duke his soldiers against 
Geneva. The canons of the cathedral and the richest 
merchants held lands in the states of Charles, so that 
(says a manuscript) the prince could at pleasure 
' starve them to death.' These influential men carried 
the majority with them, and it was resolved to accept 
the bishop nominated at Rome. When the leaders of 
the independent party found themselves beaten, they 
determined to carry out forthwith the plan they had 
formed. On the 4th of July, 1513, Philibert Ber- 
thelier, Besan9on Hugues, Jean Taccon, Jean Baud, 
N. Tissot, and H. Pollier petitioned Friburg for 
the I'ight of citizenship in order to secure their lives 
and goods ; and it was granted. This energetic step 
might prove their ruin ; the duke might find the 
means of teaching them a bloody lesson. That mat- 
tered not : a great step had been taken ; the bark of 
Geneva was made fast to the ship that would tow 
them into the waters of liberty. As early as 1507 
three patriots, Pierre L^vrier, Pierre Taccon, and 



D. Fonte, had allied themselves to Switzerland. Now 
they were nine, drawn up on the side of indepen- 
dence, a small number truly, and yet the victory was 
destined to remain with them. History has often 
shown that there is another majority besides the 
majority of numbers.* 

While this little band of patriots was on its way to 
embrace the altar of liberty in Switzerland, the ducal 
and clerical party was making ready to prostrate itself 
slavishly before the Savoyard prince. The more the 
patriots had opposed him, the more the episcopalians 
laboured to give him a splendid reception. On the 
31st of August, 1513, the new prince-bishop entered 
the city under a magnificent canopy ; the streets and 
galleries were hung with garlands and tapestry, the 
trades walked magnificently costumed to the sound of 
fife and drum, and theatres were improvised for the re- 
presentation of miracles, dramas, and fai'ces. It was to 
no purpose that a few citizens in bad humour shrugged 
tlieir shoulders and said : ' He is truly as foul in body 
as in mind.' The servile worshipped him, some even 
excusing themselves humbly for having appeared to 
oppose liim. They represented that such opposition 
was not to his lordship's person, but simply because 
they desired to maintain their right of election. John 
of Savoy, who had said to himself, ' I will not spur 
the horse before I am firm in the saddle,' answered 
only by a smile of his livid lips : both people and 
bishop were acting a part. When he arrived in fi-ont 

* Micliel Eoset, Histoire manusmte de Gmhve, liv. i. eliap. Ixix. (Eoset 
■was syndic fourteen times dming tlie sixteenth century.) L^vrier, 
Chronoloffie des Comtes de Genevois, p. 102. Bonivard, Police de Genhte 
(Mhn. dArcMologie), v. p. 380. Sa-v-yon, Annates, p. 46. 


of the cathedral, the new prelate met the canons, 
dressed in their robes of silk and damask, with hoods 
and crosses, each according to his rank. They had felt 
rather annoyed in seeing the man of their choice, the 
abbot of Bonmont, unceremoniously set aside by the 
pope ; but the honour of having a prince of the ducal 
family for their bishop was some compensation. These 
reverend gentlemen, almost all of them partisans of 
Savoy, received the bastard with great honour, bow- 
ing humbly before him. The bishop then entered 
the church, and standing in front of the altar, with 
an open missal before him, as was usual, made so- 
lemn oath to the syndics, in presence of the people, 
to maintain the liberties and customs of Geneva. 
Certaia good souls took him at his word and ap- 
peared quite reassured; but the more intelligent 
wore a look of incredulity, and placed but little 
trust in his protestations. The bishop ha^^ng been 
recognised and proclaimed sovereign, quitted the 
church and entered the episcopal palace to recruit 
himself after such unusual fatigue. There he took 
his seat in the midst of a little cii'cle of courtiers, 
and raising his head, said to them : ' "^^^ell, gentlemen, 
we have next to savoyardise Geneva. The city has 
been quite long enough separated from Savoy onlv by 
a ditch, without crossing it. I am commissioned to 
make her take the leap.' These were almost the first 
words the bastard uttered after having sworn before 
God to naaintain the independence of the city.* 

The bishop, naturally crafty and surrounded by 

* Eoset MS. liv. i. eh. Lxix. Savyon, Annales, p. 46. Eegistei-a 
of tie Council, MS. 25-30th August, 1513. Bonivard, Cliroaiq. ii. 
p. 235. 

E 2 



counsellors more crafty still, was eager to know who 
were the most influential men of the party opposed 
to him, being resolved to confer on them some strik- 
ing mark of his favour. First he met with one name 
which was in every mouth — it was that of Philibert 
Bertheher. The bishop saw this citizen mingling 
with the people, simple, cheerful, and overflowing 
with cordiality, taking part in all the merry-makings 
of the young folks of Geneva, winning them by the 
animated charm of his manners, and by the im- 
portant services he was always ready to do them. 
' Good ! ' thought John of Savoy, ' here is a man I 
must have. If I gain him, I shall have nothing to fear 
for my power in Geneva.' He resolved to give him one 
of the most honourable charges at his disposal. Some 
persons endeavoured to dissuade the bishop : they told 
him that under a trifling exterior Berthelier concealed 
a rebellious, energetic, and unyielding mind. ' Fear 
nothing,' answered John, ' he sings gaily and drinks 
with the young men of the town.' It was true that 
Berthelier amused himself with the Enfans de Geneve* 
but it was to kindle them at his fire. He possessed 
the two qualities necessary for great things : a popu- 
lar spirit, and an heroic character; practical sense 
to act upon men, and an elevated mind to conceive 
great ideas. 

The bishop, to whom all noble thoughts were 
unknown, appeared quite enchanted with the great 
citizen ; being always ready to sell himself, he doubted 
not that the proud Genevan was to be bought. The 
Castle of Peney, situated two leagues from the city, 

* Enfans de Genive is a term applied to the youths of the town capahle 
of bearing: arms, 


and built in the thirteenth century by a bishop of 
Geneva, happened at that time to be without a com- 
mandant : ' You shall have the governorship of 
Peney,' said the prelate to Berthelier. The latter 
was astonished, for it was, as we have said, one of 
the most important posts in the State. ' I under- 
stand it all,' said he, ' Peney is the apple which 
the serpent gave to Eve.' ' Or rather,' added Boni- 
vard, ' the apple which the goddess of Discord threw 
down at the marriage of Peleus.' Berthelier re- 
fused ; but the bastard still persisted, making fine 
promises for the future of the city. At last he 
accepted the charge, but with the firm intention of 
resigning it as soon as his principles required it. 
The bishop could not even dream of a resignation : 
such an act would be sheer madness in his eyes ; so 
believing that he had caught Berthelier, he thought 
that Geneva could not now escape him. This was 
not aU ; the bishop elect, M. de Gingins, whose place 
the bastard had taken, possessed great influence in 
the city. John gave him a large pension. Believing 
he had thus disposed of his two principal adversaries, 
he used to joke about it with his courtiers. ' It is a 
bone in their mouths,' said they, laughing and clapping 
their hands, ' which will prevent their barking.' * 

The people had next to be won over. ' Two fea- 
tures characterise the Genevans,' said the partisans 
of Savoy to the bishop, ' the love of liberty and the 
love of pleasure.' Hence the counsellors of the 
Savoyard prince concluded, that it would be neces- 
sary to manceuvre so as to make one of these 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 236, 259. Savyon, Annahs, p. 46. Gautier 
and Roset MSS. GalifFe, Notices Geneahgiques, i. p. 8. 


propensities destroy the other. The cue was ac- 
cordingly given. Parties, balls, banquets, and enter- 
tainments were held at the palace and in all the 
houses of the Savoyard party. There was one 
obstacle however. The bastard was naturally me- 
lancholy and peevish, and his disease by no means 
tended to soften this morose disposition. But John 
did violence to himself, and determined to keep open 
house. ' Nothing was seen at the palace but junket- 
ing, dicing, dancing, and feasting.' The prelate leav- 
ing his apartments, would appear at these joyous 
entertainments, with his wan and gloomy face, and 
strive to smile. Go where you would, you heard 
the sound of music and the tinkling of glasses. 
The youth of Geneva was enchanted; but the good 
citizens felt alarmed. ' The bishop, the church- 
men, and the Savoyards,' they said, 'effeminate and 
cowardise our young men by toothsome meats, 
gambling, dancing, and other immoderate dehghts.' 
Nor did they rest satisfied with complaining; they 
took the young citizens aside, and represented to 
them that if the bishop and his party were lavish of 
their amusements, it was only to make them forget 
their love for the common weal. ' They are doing 
as Circe did with the companions of Ulysses,' said a 
man of wit, ' and their enchanted draughts have no 
other object than to change men into swine.' But 
the bastard, the canons, and the Savoyard nobles con- 
tinued to put wine upon their tables and to invite the 
most charming damsels to then" balls. The youths 
could not resist; they left the old men to their 
dotage ; in their intoxication they indulged with all 
the impetuosity of their age in bewitching dances, 


captivating music, and degrading disorders. Some 
of the young lords, as they danced or drank, whis- 
pered in their ears : ' Fancy what it would be if the 
duke established his court with its magnificent fetes 
at Geneva.' And these thoughtless youths forgot 
the liberties and the mission of their country.* 

Among the young men whom the courtiers of Savoy 
were leading into vice, was the son of the bishop's pro- 
curator-fiscal. One of the ablest devices of the dukes 
who desired to annex Geneva to their states, had been 
to induce a certain number of their subjects to settle 
in the city. These Savoyards, being generally rich men 
and of good famUy, were joyfully welcomed and often 
invested with some important office, but they always 
remained devoted to the ducal interests. Of this 
number were F. Cartelier of La Bresse, M. Guillet, 
seigliior of Montbard, and Pierre jSTa-^ds of Rumilly 
in Genevois; all these played an important part in 
the crisis we are about to describe. Xa's'is, admitted 
citizen in 1486, elected councillor in 1497, was a 
proud and able man, a good lawyer, thorougiily 
devoted to the duke, and who thought he was ser-\Tng 
him faithfully by the unjust charges he brought against 
the patriots. Andrew, the youngest of his sons, was a 
waggish, frolicsome, noisy boy who, if sometimes show- 
ing a certain respect to his father, was often obstinate 
and disobedient. When he passed from boyhood to 
youth, his passions gained more warmth, his imagina- 
tion more fire : family ties sufficed him no longer, and 
he felt within him a certain longing which urged him 
towards something unknown. The knowledge of God 

* Bonivard, Clironiq. ii. p. 235, &c. 


would have satisfied the wants of his ardent soul ; but he 
could find it nowhere. It was at this period, he being 
twenty -three years old, that John of Savoy arrived in 
Geneva, and his courtiers began to lay their toils. 
The birth of Andrew Navis marked him out for their 
devices, and it was his fate to be one of their earliest 
victims. He rushed into every kind of enjoyment with 
all the impetuosity of youth, and pleasure held the 
chief place in his heart. Rapidly did he descend the 
steps of the moral scale: he soon wallowed in de- 
bauchery, and shrank not from the most shameful acts. 
Sometimes his conscience awoke and respect for his 
father gained the upper hand ; but some artful seduc- 
tion soon drew him back again into vice. He spent in 
disorderly living his own money and that of his family. 
' When I want money,' he said, ' I write in my father's 
office ; when I have it, I spend it with my friends or 
in roaming about.' He was soon reduced to shifts to 
find the means of keeping up his libertinism. One day 
his father sent him on horseback to Chambery, where 
he had some business to transact. Andrew fell to 
gambling on the road, lost his money, and sold his 
horse to have the chance of winning it back. He 
did worse even than this : on two several occasions, 
when he was short of money, he stole horses and sold 
them. He was not however the only profligate in 
Geneva : the bishop and his courtiers were training up 
others ; the priests and monks whom John found at 
Geneva, also gave cause for scandal. It was these 
immoralities that induced the citizens to make early 
and earnest complaints to the bishop.* 

* Galiffe, MatSrianx pour VHistoire de Omive. InteiTOgatory of Nayis, 
pp. 168-181. 




(1513 1515.) 

THE opposition to the bishop was shown in various 
ways and came from different quarters. The 
magistrates, the young and new defenders of inde- 
pendence, and lastly (what was by no means expected) 
the cardinals themselves thwarted the plan formed to 
deprive Geneva of its independence. Opinion, ' the 
queen of the world,' as it has been called, overlooked 
worldliness in priests but not libertinism. Debauchery 
had entered into the manners of the papacy. The 
Church of the middle ages, an external and formal in- 
stitution, dispensed with morality in its ministers and 
members. Dante and Michael Angelo place both 
priests and popes in hell, whether libertines or poi- 
soners. The crimes of the priest (according to Rome) 
do not taint the divine character with which he is 
invested. A man may be a holy father — nay, God 
upon earth — and yet be a brigand. At the time 
when the Reformation began there were certain arti- 
cles of faith imposed in the Romish church, certain 
hierarchies, ceremonies, and practices ; but of morality 
there was none ; on the contrary, all this framework 
naturally tended to encourage Christians to do without 


it. Religion (I reserve the exceptions) was not the 
man : it was a corpse arrayed in magnificent garments, 
and underneath all eaten with worms. The Refor- 
mation restored life to the Church. If salvation is not 
to be found in adherence to the pope and cardinals, 
but in an inward, living, personal communion with 
God, a renewal of the heart is obligatory. It was 
witliin the sphere of morality that the first reforming 
tendencies were shown at Geneva. 

In the month of October 1513 the complaints in 
the council were very loud : ' Who ought to set the 
people an example of morality, if not the priests?' 
said many noble citizens; 'but our canons and 
our priests are gluttons and drunkards, they keep 
women unlawfully, and have bastard children as all 
the world knows.' * Adjoining the Grey Friars' con- 
vent at Rive stood a house that was in very bad 
repute. One day a worthless fellow, named Morier, 
went and searched the convent for a woman who 
lived in this house, whom these reverend monks had 
carried ofi^. The youth of the city followed him, 
found the poor wretch hidden in a cell, and carried 
her away with great uproar. The monks attracted 
by the noise appeared at their doors or in the corri- 
dors but did not venture to detain her. Morier's 
comrades escorted her back in triumph, launching 
their jokes upon the friars. f The Augustines of our 
Lady of Grace were no better than the Franciscans 
of Rive, and the monks of St. Victor did no honour to 

* GalifFe, MaUnriaus pour VHistoire de Genive, ii. vii. 
t Eegistera of Geneva (MS.), 2iid September, 1483 ; IStli June, lltli 
and 25tli July, 28tli November, 1486 ; 24th Jraie, 1491. 


their cliief. AH round their convents were a number 
of low houses in which lived the men and women who 
profited by their debauchery.* 

The evil was stiU greater among the Dominicans of 
Plainpalais : the syndics and council were forced to 
banish two of them, Brother Marchepalu and Brother 
Nicolin, for indulging in abominable practices in this 
monastery.f The monks even offered accommoda- 
tion for the debaucheries of the town ; they threw open 
for an entrance-fee the extensive gardens of their 
monastery, which lay between the Rhone and the 
Arve, and whose deep shades served to conceal im- 
proper meetings and midnight orgies. J Nobody in 
Geneva had so bad a reputation as these monks : they 
were renowned for their vices. In the way of avarice, 
impurity, and crime, there was nothuig of which they 
were not thought capable. 'What an obstinate 
devil would fear to do,' said some one, ' a reprobate 
and disobedient monk will do without hesitation.'§ 

What could be expected of a clergy at whose head 
were popes like John XXIII., Alexander VI., or 
Innocent VIII., who having sixteen illegitimate chil- 
dren when he assumed the tiara, was loudly proclaimed 
' the father of the Roman people? '|| The separation 
between religion and morality was complete ; every 
attempt at reform, made for centuries by pious eccle- 
siastics, had failed : there seemed to be nothing that 

* Registers of Geneva, ad arm. 1534. 

f ' Be iis quae gesta fuere occasione nefandi criminis Sodomye, de quo 
diffamaatui et nonniilli alii.' — Eegiaters of tie Council, 22nd July, 1513. 

X Registers of 22nd May, 1522 et sqq. 

§ ' Quod agere veretur obstinatus diabolus, intrepide agit reproljus et 
contumax monaclius.' 

II ' Hunc merito potent dicere Roma patrem,' 


could cure this inveterate, epidemic, and frightful 
disease : — nothing save God and his Word. 

The magistrates of Geneva resolved however to 
attempt some reforms, and at least to protest against 
insupportable abominations. On Tuesday, 10th Oc- 
tober, the syndics appeared in a body before the 
episcopal council, and made their complaints of the 
conduct of the priests.* But what could be expected 
from the council of a prelate who bore in his own 
person, visibly to aU, the shameful traces of his infa- 
mous debaucheries ? They hushed up complaints that 
compromised the honour of the clergy, the ambition 
of the duke, and the mitre of the bishop. However 
the blow was struck, the moral effect remained. 
One thought sank from that hour deep into the 
hearts of upright men : they saw that something new 
was wanted to save religion, morality, and liberty. 
Some even said that as reforms from below were 
impossible, there needed a reform from heaven. 

It was at this moment when the breeze was blowing 
towards independence, and when the liberal party saw 
its defenders multiplying, that there came to Geneva 
a brilliant young man, sparkling with wit, and fiill of 
Livy, Cicero, and Yirgil. The priests received him 
heartily on account of his connection with several pre- 
lates, and the liberals did the same on account of 
his good-humour; he soon became a favourite with 
everybody and the hero of the moment. He had so 
much imagination: he knew so well how to amuse 
his company ! This young man was not a superficial 

* ' De putauis sacerdotum.' Public Registers of Genera. MS. ad arm. 


thinker : in our opinion he is one of the best French 
writers of the beginning of the 16th century, but he 
is also one of the least known. Francis Bonivard — 
such was the name of this agreeable scholar — 
had, in the main, little faith and little morality; 
but he was to play iii Geneva by his liberalism, his 
information, and his cutting satires, a part not very 
unlUce that played by Erasmus in the great Refoi-ma- 
tion. As. you left the city by the Porte St. Antoine, 
you came almost immediately to a round church, 
and by its side a monastery inhabited by some 
monks of Clugny,* whose morals, as we have seen, 
were not very exemplary. This was the priory of 
St. Victor, and within its walls were held many of 
the conversations and conferences that prepared the 
way for the Reformation. St. Victor was a small 
state with a small territory, and its prior was a 
sovereign prince. On the 7th of December, 1514, 
the prior, John Aime Bonivard, was on his death- 
bed, and by his side sat his nephew Francis, then one- 
and-twenty. He was born at Seyssel ; f his father 
had occupied a certain rank at the court of Duke 
Philibert of Savoy, and his mother was of the noble 
family of Meiithon. Francis belonged to that popula- 
tion of nobles and churchmen whom the dukes of Savoy 
had transplanted to Geneva to corrupt the citizens. 
He was educated at Turin, where he had become the 
ringleader of the wild set at the university; and ever 
carrying with him his jovial humour, he seemed made 
to be an excellent bait to entice the youth of the city 

* Near the present Observatory. 
■f Now in the department of Ain. 


into the nets of Savoy. But it was far otherwise, he 
chose the path of liberty. 

For the moment he thought only of his uncle whose 
end seemed to have arrived. He did not turn from 
him his anxious look, for the old prior was seriously 
agitated on his dying bed. Formerly, in a moment of 
irritation, he had ordered four large culverins to be 
cast at the expense of the Church in order to besiege 
the seignior of Viry, one of his neighbours, in his 
castle at the foot of Mount Saleve. Old Bonivard had 
committed many other sins, but he troubled himself 
little about them, compared with this. These large 
guns, purchased out of the ecclesiastical revenues, 
with a view to kill men and batter down the castle 
of an old friend, gave him a fearful pang.* In his 
anguish he turned towards his nephew. He had 
found an expedient, a meritorious work which seemed 
calculated to bring back peace to his agitated con- 
science. ' Francis,' he said to his nephew, ' listen to 
me ; you know those pieces of cannon . . . they 
ought to be employed in God's service. I desire that 
immediately after my death they may be cast into 
bells for the church.' Francis gave his promise, and 
the prior expired satisfied, leaving to his nephew the 
principality, the convent, and the culverins. 

A close sympathy soon united Berthelier and 
Bonivard. The former had more energy, the latter 
more grace ; but they both belonged to the new genera- 
tion ; they became brothers in arms, and promised to 
wage a merciless war against superstition and arbitrary 
power. They gave each other mutual marks of their 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 210. 


aiFection, Bonivard standing godfather for one of 
Berthelier's sons. Berthelier, having paid his friend 
a visit of condolence on the very day of his uncle's 
death, heard from his lips the story of the culverins. 
' What ! ' said he, ' cast cannons to make into bells ! 
We wiU give you as much metal as you require to 
make a peal that shall ring loud enough to stun you ; 
but the culverins ought to remain culverins.' Boni- 
vard represented that, according to his uncle's orders, 
the cannon were to be employed in the service of the 
Church. ' The Church "vvill be doubly served,' re- 
torted Berthelier ; ' there will be bells at St. Victor, 
which is the church, and artillery in the city, which 
is the church land.' He laid the matter before the 
council, who voted all that Berthelier required.* 

But the Duke of Savoy had no sooner heard of this 
than he claimed the guns from the monastery. The 
Council of Fifty was convened to discuss the affair, and 
Berthelier did not stand alone in supporting the rights 
of the city. A young citizen of twenty -five, of mild yet 
intrepid temper, calm and yet active, a friend to law 
and liberty,' without meanness and without arrogance, 
and who had within him deep-seated and vigorous 
powers, — this man feared not to provoke a contest 
between Geneva and the most formidable of his 
neighbours. He was Besan9on Hugues, who had just 
lost his father and was beginning to enter into public 
life. One idea governed him : to maintain the inde- 
pendence of his country and resist the usurpations of 
Savoy, even should it draw Upon him the duke's hatred. 
' In the name of the people,' he said, ' I oppose the 

* Registers of Geneva, Stt and 9tli December, 1514. 


surrender of this artillery to his Highness, the city 
cannot spare them.' The four guns remained at 
Geneva, but from that hour Charles III. looked with 
an angry eye upon Berthelier, Hugues, and Bonivard. 

' I -will be even with them,' said he ' When I paid 

him my respects after the death of my uncle,' said 
Bonivard, ' his Highness turned up his nose at me.' * 

Charles III., son of Philip Lackland, was not much 
like that adventurous prince. When Philip reached 
a certain age, he became reformed ; and after having 
several natural children, he married Margaret of 
Bourbon, and on her death Claudine of Penthievre or 
Brittany, and in 1496 ascended the throne of Pied- 
mont and Savoy. Charles III., his son by the second 
wife, rather took after his grandfather Duke Louis ; 
like him he was steady but weak, submissive to his 
Avife, and inherited from Monsieiir only his bursts of 
passion. His understanding was not large ; but his 
councillors who were very able made up for this. 
One single thought seemed to possess him : to annex 
Geneva to Savoy. It was almost his whole poHcy. 
By grasping after Geneva he lost his principahties. 
JSsop's fable of the dog and the shadow has never been 
better illustrated. 

In 1515 everything seemed favourable to the plans 
of this prince. The marriage of the Princess Phili- 
berta, which had not been solemnised in 1513 in 
consequence of her youth, was about to take place. 
The Bishop of Geneva, then at Rome for the Lateran 
Council, backed his cousin's demand touchino- the 
temporal sovereignty. The ministers of Charles, the 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 24?. 


court, nobility, and priests, all of them pressed the 
annexation of Geneva. Was not that city the market 
for the provinces neighbouring on Savoy ? Was it not 
necessary for the strategic defence of the duchy? 
Claude de Seyssel, a skilful diplomatist, author of the 
Monarchie de France^ ' a bitter despiser of every 
republic, and soon after made archbishop of Turin, 
was continually repeating to the duke that if Geneva 
remained in his territory without being of it. Savoy 
would incur great danger.' ' Truly,' said Bonivard, 
when he heard of Seyssel's arguments, 'there is no 
need to push his Highness to make him run. He 
has begun to beat the tabor, and is now going to open 
the dance.' * 

But would the pope take part in the dance ? would 
he surrender up Geneva to Savoy? That was the 
question. Leo X. loved wealth, the arts, pleasure, 
and all the enjoyments of life; he was generous, 
liberal, prodigal even, and did not care much for 
business. He had prepared a magnificent palace in 
the city of the popes and of the Csesars, for Julian 
and his young wife. Entertainments of unusual 
splendour celebrated the union of the Medici with 
the old family of Humbert of the white hand. ' I 
will spare no expense,' Leo said, and in fact these 
rejoicings cost him the enormous sum of 15,000 

How could a pontiff always occupied in plundering 
others to enrich and exalt his own kindred, compro- 
mise so glorious an alliance in order to maintain the 
independence of an unknown city in the wild country 

* Bonivard, Chromq. ii. pp. 250-253. 
VOL. I. F 


of the Alps? Besides, the situation at Geneva was 
disquieting ; the free institutions of the city threatened 
the temporal power of the bishop, and if that were 
destroyed, what would become of his spiritual power? 
But if the Duke of Savoy should become sovereign 
prince there, he would revoke the insolent liberties of 
the citizens, and thus save the episcopal prerogative. 
Such had been the history of most cities in the middle 
ages: was it also to be that of Geneva?* Lorenzo 
de' Medici had been accustomed to say : ' My son 
Julian is good; my son John (Leo X.) is crafty; my 
son Peter is mad.' Leo thought he was displaying con- 
siderable tact by sacrificing Geneva to the glory of 
the Medici and the ambition of Savoy. ' The Duke 
of Savoy,' says a catholic historian, ' took advantage of 
this circumstance (the marriage) to procure a bull 
confirming the transfer of the temporal authority.' f 
Charles III. triumphed. He had reached the end 
which his predecessors had been aiming at for cen- 
turies : he had done more than Peter, sumamed Char- 
lemagne; more than Amadeus the Great; he fancied 
himself the hero of his race. ' I am sovereign lord of 
Geneva in temporal matters,' he told everybody. ' I 
obtained it from our holy father the reigning pope.' 
But what would they say at Geneva? Would the 
ancient republic meekly bow its head beneath the 
Savoyard yoke ? J 

The whole city was in commotion when this im- 

* Tliieny, Lettres sur VHistoire de France, passim. 

\ Chronique des Comtes des Genevois, by M. Lfivrier, lieutenant-general 
of the bailiwick of Meullant, ii. p. 110. 

J Archives of Geneva, 9th June, 1515. Sayyon, Annates, p. 49. Eoset 
and Gautier JVESS. ^Mi&toji, Annali d' Italia, x. ■p. 110. Eoscoe, ieoX. 
iii. p. 9. 


portant news arrived. Berthelier, Bonivard, Hugues, 
Vandel, Bernard, even the most catholic of the citizens, 
exasperated at such a usurpation, hurried to and fro, 
conversing eagerly and especially blaming the pontiff. 
' The power of the popes,' they said, ' is not over 
principalities but over sins — it is for the purpose of 
correcting vices, and not to be masters of sovereigns 
and peoples, that they have received the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven.' There was at Geneva a small 
number of scholars (Bonivard was one) who opened 
the dusty tomes of their libraries in search of argu- 
ments against the papal resolution. Did not St. Ber- 
nard say to Pope Eugene : ' To till the vineyard of 
the Lord, to root out the noxious plants, is your 
task. . . You need not a sceptre but a hoe.' * 

On the 25th of May a deputation from the coun- 
cil waited on the bishop. ' My lord,' said the first 
syndic, 'we conjure you to leave the community 
in the same state as your predecessors transmitted 
it to you, enjoying its rightful customs and ancient 
franchises.' The bishop was embarrassed: on the 
one hand he feared to irritate men whose energy was 
not unknown to him, and on the other to displease his 
cousin whose slave he was ; he contented himself with 
muttering a few words. The syndics waited upon 
the chapter next : ' Prevent this iniquity,' they said 
to the canons, ' seeing that it touches you as much 
as the city.' But the reverend fathers, who possessed 
fat benefices in the duke's territory, and feared to 
have them confiscated, replied in such complicated 

* 'Disce sarculo tibi opus esse, non scepti-o.' — Beraardus, de Coii- 
sideratione, ad Bjtycnmm papam. lib. ii. cap. vi. 

F 2 


phrases that nobody could understand them. Both 
bishop and canons surrendered Geneva to the man 
who claimed to be its master. 

The report that the city was decidedly given to Sa- 
voy spread farther and farther every day : people wrote 
about it from every quarter. The syndics, moved by 
the letters they received, returned to the bishop. ' It 
is now a general rumour,' said they ; ' protest, my lord, 
against these strange reports, so that the usurpation, 
although begun, may not be completed.' The bishop 
looked at them, then fixing his hollow, sunken eyes 
upon the ground, preserved an obstinate silence. 
The syndics withdrew without obtaining anything. 
What was to be done now ? The last hour of liberty 
seemed to have struck in the old republic. The citi- 
zens met one another without exchanging a word; 
their pale faces and dejected looks alone expressed 
their sorrow. One cry, however, was heard among 
them : ' Since justice is powerless,' said the most 
spirited, ' we will have recourse to force, and if the 
duke is resolved to enter Geneva, he shall pass over 
our bodies.' But the majority were uneasy ; knowing 
their own weakness and the power of Savoy, they 
considered aU resistance useless. Old Rome had 
destroyed the independence of many a people; new 
Rome desired to imitate her. . . The city was lost. 
Salvation came from a quarter whence no one ex- 
pected it.* 

The sacred coUege had assembled, and the princes 
of the Church, robed in purple, had examined the 

* MS. Eegistera of Geneva, 22iid and 25th May, 19th June 1515. 
Reset MS. hk. i. ch. 72. Savyon, Annates, p. 49, &c. 


affair. To deprive a bishop of his temporal princi- 
pality . . . what a dangerous example for the papacy 
itself ! Who knows whether princes wiU not some 
day desire to do as much by his Holiness ? To 
hear them, you would have fancied, that Catholicism 
would decline and disappear if it did not join the 
sceptre of the Caesars with the shepherd's crook. The 
cardinals resolved that for it to be lawful for a prince 
of the Church to alienate his temporal jurisdiction, 
it was necessary, ' first, that subjects be in rebellion 
against their prince; second, that the prince be not 
strong enough to redxice them ; third, that he should 
have a better recompense.' Was this recompense to 
be another temporality or simply a pecuniary com- 
pensation? This the documents do not say. In any 
case, the sacred college refused its consent to the 
papal decision, and the bull was recalled.* 

The duke was surprised and irritated. His coun- 
sellors reassured him : they pointed out to hun that, 
according to the decision of the cardinals, it only 
required a revolt in order to withdraw the temporal 
jurisdiction from the bishop. ' The Genevans, who 
are hot-headed and big talkers,' said they, 'wiU 
commit some imprudence by raeans of which we 
shall prove to the sacred college that it needs a 
stronger shepherd than a bishop to bring them back to 
their duty.' To these representations they proposed 
adding certain crafty devices. The judicial officers 
of the ducal party would draw up long, obscure, 
unintelligible indictments against the citizens; my 

* Eoset MSS. bk. i. cli. 72. Savyon, Annales, p. 50. Spon, i. p. 261, 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 268. L(5vrier, Clirmiiq. ii. p. 110. 


lords the cardinals at Rome, who arc indolence 
itself, would waive the reading of these tiresome 
documents, the matter would be explained to them 
viv& voce; they would be told that the only means 
of saving the bishop was to give the duke the 
sovereignty over the city. Charles felt comforted 
and sent his cousin fresh instructions. ' Since I 
cannot have the tree,' he said, ' I wish at least to 
taste the fruit. Set about plundering right and left 
{ah hoc et ah hac) to fill my treasury.' By means 
of this plundering, the Genevans would be irri- 
tated; they would be driven to take up arms, and 
thus the duke would succeed in confiscating their 
independence with the consent not only of the pope 
but of the cardinals also.* 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 253, Reset and Savyon MSS. Goliffe 
fils, B. Hugues, p. 22G, 



beethbliee and the touth of geneta akoused by the 
bishop's TIOLEHOE. 


THE bishop, the humble servant of the duke, prepared 
to act according to his instructions. Charles had 
set a trustee over him, who allowed him only what was 
absolutely necessary for his bare maintenance. One 
day, when an eminent citizen asked him a favour, 
John of Savoy exclaimed : ' I have only my crozier 
and my mitre, the property belongs to the duke. He 
is bishop and abbot.' . . . ' For,' adds the chronicler, 
' the duke being very rapacious, John was forced to 
give the rein to his Highness's extortioners.' They 
imposed excessive fines ; where in the inferior courts 
the penalty should not exceed sixty sols, they exacted 
fifty livres. No prince ever made such efforts to 
suppress revolt as the bastard to foment it. He 
was almost brave in his devices for losing his princi- 
pality, but it was the result of servility. He deprived 
the syndics of their judicial functions ; he threw men 
into prison to avenge private or imaginary offences. 
The people began to murmur : ' A singular shepherd 
this ! ' they said. ' He is not satisfied Avith shearing 
his flock, but tears and worries them with his dogs.' 
The partisans of Savoy were delighted. By one of 


these exploits the bastard very nearly revolutionised 

Claude Vandel was one of the most respected 
citizens of Geneva. A distinguished lawyer, a man 
of noble character and spotless integrity, of retiring 
and respectful manners, but also of great courage, he 
protected at his own expense the weak and poor 
against the violence of the great. A citizen having 
lieen unjustly prosecuted by a bishop's officer, Vandel 
undertook his defence and so enraged the prelate 
that he swore to be revenged on him. But how was 
he to begin ? The people respected Vandel ; his ances- 
tors had filled the highest offices in the State ; his wife, 
Mie du Fresnoir, belonged to a good family allied to 
the Chatillons and other Savoyard houses of the best 
blood. Moreover Vandel possessed four sons, united 
by the closest affection, full of veneration for their 
father, and all destined one day to be called to im- 
portant duties. Kobert, the eldest, was a syndic; 
Thomas, a canon, procurator-fiscal, and one of the first 
priests that embraced the Reformation; of the two 
youngest, who were still youths, Hugo was afterwards 
the representative of the republic in Switzerland, 
and Peter captain-general. It was known at the 
bishop's palace that Vandel's sons would not per- 
mit a hand to be laid upon their father ; and 
that even the people would take up his defence. 
Nevertheless it was decided to make the Genevans 
bend under the yoke of absolute authority. Thomas, 
who was then incumbent of Morges, hurried to Geneva 
on heaving of the design that threatened his father. He 

* L(5vrier, Clirrni. des Comtes de Savoye, ii. p. 112. Galiffe, Matdrimix 
pour VHistoire de Gen^iie, ii. pp. 20, 176. Savyon, Annides, p. 50. 


was a man of most decided character, and ' handled 
the sword better than his breviary.' When they 
learned what were the bishop's intentions, his brothers 
and he had felt in their hearts one of those sudden 
and- unlooked-for impulses that proceed from the 
noblest of affections, and they swore to make their 
bodies a rampart for their father. The bishop and 
his courtiers had recourse to stratagem. Vandel 
was in the country, Robert and Thomas keeping 
guard beside him. A rumour was set afloat that the 
bishop's bailiffs would come at nightfall and seize 
the lawyer. Consequently, 'before night came on,' 
Robert and Thomas went out to watch for the men 
Avho were to carry off their father. But these, in- 
stead of leaving at the appointed hour, had started 
earlier and hidden themselves near the house. As 
soon as it was dark they left their hiding-place, 
and while Vandel's sons and friends were looking for 
them in another direction, they seized the republican 
Claude, bound him, took him into the city by a secret 
postern, and conducted him along a subterranean 
passage to the bishop's prison.* 

The next morning, Vandel's sons ran in great dis- 
tress to their friends and appealed to the people 
whom they met. They represented that the syndics 
alone had the right of trial in criminal matters, and 
that by arresting their father the bishop had trampled 
the fi-'anchises of the city under foot. The people 
were excited, the council assembled; the syndics 
went to the bishop and called upon him to let Vandel 

* Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 257. Registers of Q-eneva, 29tli June, 1615. 
Savyon, Amales, p. 51. Eoset and Gautier MSS. 


go, or else hand over to them, his lawfal judges, the 
papers in his case. 

' My council,' the bishop answered, ' will examine 
whether this arrest is contrary to your liberties, in 
which case I will amend what is to be amended.' 
Even the episcopal council decided for Vandel's dis- 
charge; but the bastard obstinately refused. 

The anger of the people now grew fiercer against 
the citizens who had accepted the bishop's pensions. 

' The bishop knows very well,' they said, ' that some 
of them prefer his money to the liberties of the city. 
Why should he fear to infriage our rights, when 
traitors have sold them to him?' Thomas Vandel, 
the priest, the most ardent of the family, hastened to 
Berthelier. ' The irritation is general,' he said, ' and 
yet they hesitate. Nobody dares beU the cat.' Ber- 
thelier joined Vandel's sons, and their bold repre- 
sentations, as well as the murmurs of the people, 
aroused the syndics. The day (June 29) was already 
far advanced; but that mattered not, and at the 
unusual hour of eight in the evening the council 
met, and ' all the most eminent in the city to the 
number of about three hundred,' joined the assembly. 
The people gathered in crowds and fiUed the haU. 

Berthelier was present. He was stUl governor of 
Peney, the bishop's gift ; and the latter made merry 
with his courtiers at having put ' a bone in his mouth 
to prevent his barking.' There were some Genevans 
who looked frowningly upon him, as if that great 
citizen had betrayed his country. But Berthelier was 
calm, his countenance determined : he was prepared to 
strike the first blow. The syndics described the illegal 
act of the bishop; the sons of the prisoner called 


upon them to avenge their father; and Berthelier 
exclaimed : ' To maintain the liberties of the city, we 
must act without fear ; let us rescue the citizen whom 
traitors have seized.' John Taccon, captain-general, 
and at the same time a pensioner of the bishop's, 
stopped him : 'Gently,' said he, ' if we do as you 
advise, certaia inconveniences may follow.' Berthelier 
in. great excitement exclaimed : ' Now the pensioners 
are showing themselves ! ' At these words Taccon 
could not contain himself: ' It was you,' he said, ' yes, 
you, who showed me the way to take a pension.' 
On hearing this reproach Berthelier pulled out the 
bishop's letters appointing him governor of Peney, 
and which he had brought with him to the council, 
and tore them in pieces before the meeting, saying : 
' Since I showed you the way to take them, look, I 
now show you the way to resign them.' These words 
acted like an electric shock. A cry of ' No more pen- 
sions !' was raised on all sides. All the pensioners de- 
clared themselves ready to tear up their letters-patent 
like Berthelier. The commotion was very great. ' ToU 
the bell for the general council,' cried some. ' No, 
no,' said the more prudent, ' it would be the signal for 
a general outbreak, and the people would right them- 
selves.' * 

Something however must be done. A portion of 
the assembly went off to the bishop's palace, and began 
to shout for the prelate : ' Eelease the prisoner ! ' But 
the bishop did not appear; the doors and windows of 
the palace remauied closely barred. The irritation 
grew general. ' As the bishop will not show himself,' 

* Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii, p. 258. 


they said, ' we must assemble the people.' Upon this 
John Bernard, whose three sons played an important 
part in the Reformation, ran off to the tower of St. 
Pierre to ring the beU for the general council. But the 
priests, anticipating what would happen, had fastened 
the belfiy door. Bernard did not renounce his pur- 
pose : he caught up a huge hammer and was beginning 
to batter the door, when some citizens came up and 
stopped him. They had just learned that the bastard 
did not appear because, dreading the fury of the 
people, he had left Geneva iu great haste. One 
thought consoled the bishop in all his terror : ' Surely 
here is an argument that will convince the sacred 
college : my people are in revolt ! ' But the episcopal 
coimcil thought differently: Vandel's arrest was 
illegal, and they restored hrtn to liberty. From that 
hour the bishop's hatred grew more deadly against 
those who would not bend to his tyranny.* 

The energy displayed by the citizens showed the 
bastard what he Avould have to expect if he laid hands 
on their independence. His creatures resolved there- 
fore to set to work in another way: to enervate 
this proud and resolute people, and with that view 
to encourage superstition and profligacy in Geneva. 
Superstition would prevent the citizens from thinking 
about truth and reform, while profligacy would make 
them forget their dignity, their rights, and their 
dearest liberties. 

At the commencement of 1517 — the year when the 
Reformation began in Germany — a bare-footed friar, 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 271. Galiffe, MaUriaux pour VHistoire de 
Genive, ii. p. 122. Savyon, AnnaJes, p. 52. 


naaned Thomas, came and preached at Geneva in 
Italian^ and the people who did not understand a 
word listened to him with admiration. The Virgin 
Mary, the saints, and the departed were his ordinary 
theme. Bonivard shrugged his shoulders, saying: 
' He is a mere idiot with his cock-and-buU stories ! ' 
The friar proceeded next to work miracles ; sick per- 
sons were brought to him after service; he blessed 
them right and left, and many returned home cured. 
' What do you say to that ? ' triumphantly asked some 
bigots of the sceptical prior. ' Why, imaginatio facit 
casum, it is the effect of imagination,' he replied. 
' The fools believe so firmly that he will heal them, 
that the cure follows ; but it does not last long, and 
many return worse than they came.' The honour- 
able councillors, befooled like the rest, sent the friar 
' princely presents.' 

As superstition did not suffice, entertainments 
and debauchery were added. Duke Plulibert the 
Fair, who visited Geneva in 1498 with his bastard 
brother Ren6, had already employed this means of 
subduing the Genevans. ' Go,' said he to his noblest 
lords, ' and win over aU these shopkeepers and 
mechanics by being on the most famUiar footing with 
them.' The Savoyard nobles, afikbly accosting the 
Genevans, used to sit down with them in the taverns, 
drink, laugh, and sing with them, bewildering the 
simple by their high-flown language and 'grand 
airs.' They concealed their subtle treachery under 
fine phrases ; and throwing ofi' aU shame, they even 
permitted looks and gestures of abominable lewdness, 
infecting the hearts with impurity, and corrupting the 
young. The priests, far from opposing this depravity, 


were the first to give way to it. A shameful wanton- 
ness engendered criminal excesses which would have 
brought ruin on those who indulged in them and on 
the city itself. Effrontery staUied in the streets. 
The strangers who stopped in Geneva exclaimed: — 
' It is indeed a city sunk to the eyes in pleasui'e. 
Church, nobles, and people are devoted to every 
kind of excess. You see nothing but sports, dances, 
masquerades, feasts, lewdness, and consequently, strife 
and contention. Abundance has generated insolence, 
and assuredly Geneva deserves to be visited with the 
scourge of God.' * 

Philip Berthelier, a man of indomitable courage, 
untiring activity, enthusiastic for independence and 
the ancient rights of liberty, but infected with the 
general disease, now put the plan h had conceived 
into execution, and resolved to turn against Savoy 
the dissolute habits with which she had endowed his 
country. He took part in all their feasts, banquets, 
and debaucheries ; drank, laughed, and sang with the 
youth of Geneva. There was not an entertarnment 
at which he was not present : ' Bonus civis, malus 
Jiomo, a good citizen, but a bad man,' they said of 
him. ' Yes, malus homo,' he replied; 'but since good 
citizens will not risk their comforts in an enterprise 
of which they despair, I must save liberty by means 
of madmen.' He employed his practical understand- 
ing and profound sagacity in winning men over,f 
and he attained the end he had set before him. The 

* Bonivard, Chrmiiq. ii. p. 318 and passim. 

t 'Ad alliciendiim homines ad se.'— Galiffe, Matfrimix pmrVSidoirc 
de Geniue. Interrogations de P^colat, ii. p. i'2. 


assemblies of the Genevan youth immediately changed 
in character. Philibert the Fair had made them a 
school of slavery ; Philibert Berthelier made them a 
school of liberty. Those who opposed the usurpa- 
tions of the Savoyard princes, boldly held their meet- 
ings at these joyous and noisy feasts. The great 
citizen, as if he had been invested with some magic 
charm, had entirely changed the Genevan mind, and, 
holding it in his hand, made it do whatever he 
pleased. Sarcasms were heaped upon the bishop and 
the duke's partisans, and every jest was greeted with 
loud bursts of laughter and applause. If any episcopal 
officer committed an illegality, information was given 
to these strange parliaments, and these redi'essors of 
wrong undertook to see the victim righted. When 
the Savoyard party put themselves without the law, 
the Genevan party did the same, and the war began. 

Had Berthelier taken the right course? Could the 
independence of Geneva be established on such a 
foundation ? Certainly not ; true liberty cannot exist 
without justice, and consequently without a moral 
change that comes from God. So long as ' young 
Geneva ' loved diversion above everything, the bishop 
and the duke might yet lay hands upon her. Such 
was the love of pleasure in the majority of these 
youths, that they would seize the bait with eager 
impetuosity if it were only dropped with sufficient 
skill. ' They felt that the hook was killing them,' 
said a writer of the sixteenth century ; but they had 
not strength to pull it out. This strength was to 
come from on high. The human mind, so incon- 
stant and so weak, found in God's Word the power 
it needed, and which the light of the fifteenth 


century could never have given them. The Reforma- 
tion was necessary to liberty, because it was necessary 
to morality. When the protestant idea decHned in 
some countries, as in France for instance, the human 
mind lost its energy also, profligacy once more over- 
ran society; and that highly endowed nation, after 
having caught a glimpse of a magnificent dawn, feU 
back into the thick night of the traditional power of 
Rome and the despotism of the Valois and Bourbons. 
Liberty has never been firmly established except 
among a people where the Word of God reigns.* 

* BoniTard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 265, 271. Police de Gateve, Mgm. 
d' Arched, v. p. 381. Galiffe, Matirimia: pour VJSistoire de Genive, pp. 
201, 207, 216. Calvin, passim. 




AS a new and po-werful opposition was forming in 
Geneva, it became necessary for the duke and the 
bishop to unite more closely. About this time an 
incident of little importance was nearly setting them 
at variance, and thus accelerating the emancipation of 
the city. 

One day as the gouty bastard, stretched on a 
couch, was suffering cruelly from his disease, he 
heard a noise in the street. ' What is the matter ? ' 
he asked. — ' They are taking a thief to be hanged,' 
replied the old woman that tended him, who added : 
' If your Lordship would but pardon him, he would 
pray for your health all the days of his life.' The 
bishop, carried away by that fancy of sick people 
which makes them try everything in the hope that 
it wiU cure them, said : ' Be it so, let them set him 
at liberty.' It was the custom — a strange custom — 
in Geneva for the syndics to hand over to the vidame 
the men they had condemned; the vidame trans- 
ferred them to the governor of Gaillard in Savoy, and 
the governor to the executioner. The executioner, 
attended by the governor, was about to hang the 
man when the bishop's officers brought an order to 

VOL. I. G 


release him. ' I am the servant of my most dread 
lord the Duke of Savoy,' said the governor, ' and 
I shall discharge the duty intrusted to me.' It was 
agreed, however, that the execution should be put off, 
and the bishop called his council together to examine 
whether he had not the right to pardon a malefactor 
even when he was already in the hands of the officer 
empowered to execute him. There was among the 
members of the episcopal council a man of noble 
character destined to take a place in the history of 
Geneva by the side of Berthelier and even above 
him. Aim.6 L^vrier, judge in the criminal court, 
son of a former syndic, knew no rule but the law, 
and had no motive but duty. Serious, calm, full 
of dignity, endowed with the wisdom of a Nestor, 
he was decided and energetic in carrying the laws 
into execution, and as soon as his conscience spoke, 
he obeyed it in his humble sphere with the impe- 
tuosity of an AchUles, if one may compare small 
things with great. The turbulence of the people 
and the self-will of princes found him equally un- 
bending. He saw in this little incident the great 
question between the legitimate authority of the 
bishop and the usurpations of the duke. ' The 
prince of Geneva,' he said, 'has the right to par- 
don a criminal, even if he is on the territory of 
Savoy and at the foot of the scaffold.' And then, 
wishing to seize the opportunity of showing that the 
duke was servant in Geneva and not master, he left 
the haU, went up to the culprit, cut his bonds, took 
him by the hand, and, leading him to the bishop, 
said to the poor wretch : ' Give thanks to God and 
my lord;' and after that, boldly set him at liberty. 


But the bishop, who had never imagined the existence 
of such power, began to tremble already. 

They had not indeed long to wait for the duke's 
anger. If he had given his cousin the diocese of 
Geneva, it was that he might himself acquire the 
supreme power ; and here was the bishop seized with 
a fit of independence and going so far as to contest 
his rights as vidame, his fimctions as executioner ! . . . 
He would take advantage of this strange boldness to 
put the bastard in his right place, get rid of Levrier, 
destroy the remnant of liberty still to be found in 
the city, and establish the ducal authority therein. 
The seignior of La Val dTsere, attended by two 
other commissioners, arrived at Geneva in order to 
execute his Highness's pleasure. Striding haughtily 
into the bishop's palace, he addressed the bastard 
rudely on the part of the angry duke. The bishop 
was lavish of salutations, attentions, and respect, 
but all to no purpose. La Val d'Isere, who had 
learnt his lesson well, raised his voice stni higher ; 
Wretched bastard ! (he said) what did he want with 
pardoning a man they were going to hang? The 
poor prelate was on the rack and more dead than alive ; 
at last the ducal envoy having finished his severe 
reprimand, the bishop tremblingly excused himself, 
' like our father Adam when he threw the blame on 
Eve,' says Bonivard. ' It was one Levrier, a judge 
and doctor of laws, who did it,' said he. The sei- 
gnior of La Val d'Isere gave the bishop to understand 
that instead of indulging any longings for indepen- 
dence, he ought to unite with the duke in combating 
the spirit of liberty in Geneva. 

To a certain extent, however, the ducal envoy 

G 2 


admitted the prelate's excuse ; he knew his -weakness, 
and saw that another will than his own had acted in 
this business. He informed the duke of L^vrier's 
misdeed, and from that hour this intrepid judge 
became odious to the court of Turin, and was doomed 
to destruction. The Savoyards said that as he had 
rescued the thief from the gallows, he ought to be 
hanged in his place. The duke and his ministers 
were convinced that every attempt to enslave Geneva 
would fail, so long as it contained such an energetic 
defender of the law. The evening of the day when 
La Val d'Isere had reprimanded the bishop, the ducal 
envoy, with one of his colleagues and the vidame, 
supped at the priory of St. Victor : the ambassador 
was Bonivard's cousin, and had purposely gone 
to visit him. He desired to make his cousin a 
devoted agent of Savoy in Geneva, and to employ 
him, by way of prelude, in the arrest of the recalci- 
trant judge. After supper, La Val d'Isere took the 
prior aside, and began to compliment him highly. 
' My dear cousin,' said he, ' the duke has not in all 
his states a man better fitted than you to do him a 
service. I know you; I observed you when you 
were studying beyond the mountains, an intelligent 
fellow, a skilful swordsman, always ready to execute 
any deed of daring if it would render your friends a 
service. Your ancestors were loyal servants of the 
house of Savoy, and my lord expects you will show 
yourself worthy of them.' The astonished Bonivard 
made no reply. Then La Val d'Isfere explained to him 
how he could aid the duke in his schemes against 
Geneva, adding that at this very moment he might 
do him an important service. There was Aime 


Levrier, a determined malcontent, a rebel like Ms 
father, wliom it was necessary to arrest. . . La 
Val d'ls^re communicated his plot to Bonivard. 
Aim6 Levrier went ordinarily to pay his devotions 
at the church of Our Lady of Grace, near the bridge 
of Arve. Bonivard would follow him, seize him 
the moment he came near the church, and, holding 
him by the throat, cross the bridge with him, and 
deliver him up to the ducal soldiers, who would be 
on the other side ready to receive him. ' This will be 
an easy task for you, dear cousin,' added the ambas- 
sador ; ' everybody knows your readiness and your 
prowess.' ... La Val d'Isere added that Bonivard 
would thus gain two advantages : first, he would be 
revenged on the bishop whom he loved but little; 
and second, he would receive a handsome reward 
from my lord of Savoy. It was a singular idea to 
intrust this outrage to the prior of a monastery ; yet 
it was in accordance with the manners of the day. 
Bonivard's interests and family traditions would have 
induced him to serve Savoy; but he had an en- 
lightened understanding and an independent spirit. 
He belonged to the new times. ' Ever since I began 
to read history,' he said, ' I have always preferred a 
republican to a monarchical state, and especially to 
those where the throne is hereditary.' The diilce 
would have given him honours and riches in abun- 
dance, whilst he received from the cause which he 
embraced only poverty and a dungeon : still he never 
hesitated. The love of liberty had taken possession 
of that distinguished man, and he was always faithful 
to it : whatever may have been his weaknesses, this is 
a glory which cannot be taken from him. Bonivard 


•vvislied to decline the proposal without however 
irritating the ambassador too much. He pointed to 
his robes, his prayer-book, his monks, his priory, and 
assigning these as a reason, he said : ' Handling the 
sword is no longer my business ; I have changed it 
for the breviary.' Upon this La Val d'ls^re in great 
disappointment became angry and said : ' WeU, then, I 
swear I will go myself to-night and take Ldvrier in 
his bed, and carry him tied hand and foot into Savoy.' 
Bonivard looked at him with a smile: 'Will you 
really make the attempt ? ' he asked ; ' shake hands 
then.' The ambassador thinking he was won over 
gave him his hand. ' Are you going to make prepa- 
ration for the affair ?•' — ' No, cousin,' replied Bonivard 
with a bow, ' I know the people of Geneva ; they are 
not indulgent, I warn you, and I shall go and set aside 
thirty florins to have a mass said for your soul 
to-morrow.' The ambassador left him in great 

Bonivard perceived that L^vrier's life was in 
danger. At that time people supped early; the 
prior waited until nightfall, and then leaving his 
monastery in disguise, he passed stealthily through 
the streets, and entering the house of his friend the 
judge, told him everything. L^vrier in his turn 
ran to Berthelier. ' Oh, oh ! ' said the latter, who 
was captain of the city, ' my lords of Savoy want to 
be masters here ! we will teach them it is not so easy.' 

At this moment news was brought the syndics that 
some lansquenets were at the Vengeron (half a league 
from the city on the right shore of the lake) and pre- 

* Bonivard, Chrmiiq. ii. pp. 277, 278. 


paring to enter the faubourg of St. Gervais : it was 
clear that Savoy desired to carry oE the judge. The 
syndics ordered Berthelier to keep watch all night 
under arms. He assembled the companies, and the 
men marched through the streets in close order with 
drums beating, passing and repassing the house of 
the vidame, Aymon Conseil, where the ambassadors 
were staying. 

The seignior of La Val d'Isere, with his two col- 
leagues the Sieur J. de Crans and Peter Lambert, 
expected every moment to be attacked by these armed 
men. They called to mind the mass for the dead of 
which Bonivard had spoken, and altogether passed a 
horrible night. Towards the morning the city grew 
calm, and it was scarcely light when the envoys of 
Savoy, ordering their horses to be saddled, rode out 
by a secret door of which the bishop had the key, and 
hastened to report to their master.* 

Notwithstanding their precipitate retreat one of 
the objects of their mission was attained. The depu- 
ties from Savoy did not quit Geneva alone ; the bastard 
was still more frightened than they ; fear drove away 
the gout, he left his bed, and taking with him the 
Count of Genevois, the duke's brother, he hurried over 
the mountains to Turin, in order to pacify his tei^rible 
cousin. The latter was extremely irritated. It 
was not enough to encroach on his rights, they also 
forced his envoys to flee from Geneva. The bastard 
spared no means to justify himself; he crouched at 
Charles's feet. He was the most to be pitied, he said; 

* Chromqite du Pays de Vaud, Bibl. Imp. No. 16720. Bonivaid, 
Chroniq. ii. pp. 276-279. 


these Genevans frightened him day and night. 'I 
will forget everything,' said the prince to him at last, 
' provided you assist me in bringing these republicans 
to reason.' It was what the prior of St. Victor 
had foreseen. ' Just as Herod and Pilate agreed 
in their dark designs,' he said, 'so do the duke 
and the bishop agree for the ruin of Geneva.' — 
' Cousin,' continued the duke, ' let us understand one 
another : in your fold there are certain dogs that bark 
very loudly and defend your sheep very stoutly; you 
must get rid of them. . . I do n't mean only L^Arrier 
the son — there is L^vrier the father and Berthelier 
also, against whom you must sharpen your teeth.' — 
' The elder L^vrier,' answered the bastard, ' is a sly 
and cunning fox, who knows how to keep himself out 
of the trap ; as for Berthelier, he is hot, choleric, and 
says outright what he thinks : we shall have a far 
better chance of catching him ; and when he is done 
for, it will be an easy matter with the others.' In 
this way the princes of Savoy, meeting in the duke's 
cabinet in the palace of Turin, conspired the ruia 
of Geneva, and plotted the death of its best citizens. 
Charles the Good was the cruellest and most obstinate 
of the three. ' Let us play the game seriously,' he 
repeated; ' we must have them dead or alive.' The 
duke, the count, and the bishop arranged their parts, 
and then the wolves (it was the name Bonivard gave 
them) waited a good opportunity for falling on the 

While they were making these preparations at 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 279, 383. Roset MSS. liv. i. ch. xxvi. 
MaUriatix pour I'Histvire de Oendve, ii. pp. Ill, 119, 136. 


Turin to crush liberty, others were preparing at 
Geneva to fight and to die for her. Both parties took 
up arms : the contest could not fail to be severe, and 
the issue important to Geneva and to society. Two 
friends especially did not lose sight of the approach- 
ing struggle. Berthelier inclined to the revival of 
Geneva from democratic motives ; Bonivard, from a 
love of learning, philosophy, and light. Seated opposite 
each other in the priory of St. Victor, with the mUd 
sparkling wine of the country on the table, they dis- 
coursed about the new times. Bonivard possessed an 
indescribable attraction for Berthelier. The young 
prior whose mind was full of grace, simplicity, poetry, 
imagination, and also of humour, was waking up with 
the sixteenth century, and casting an animated glance 
upon nature and the world. His style indicates his cha- 
racter : he always found the strongest, the most biting 
expressions, without either the shades of delicacy or 
the circuitousness of subtlety. There were however 
elevated parts in him : he could be enthusiastic for an 
idea. A thought passing through his mind would 
call up high aspirations in his soul and bring accents 
of eloquence to his lips. But, generally, men dis- 
pleased him. A well-bred gentleman, a keen and 
graceful wit, a man of the world, he found the towns- 
people about him vulgar, and did not spare them 
the sting of his satire. When Berthelier, in the midst 
of the uproar of a tavern, shook the youths of Geneva 
warmly by the hand, and enlisted them for the great 
campaign of independence, Bonivard would draw 
back with embarrassment and put on his gloves. 
' These petty folks,' he said with some contempt, ' only 
like justice in others; and as for the rich tradesmen. 


they prefer the feasts and the money of the Savoyard 
nobles to the charms of independence.' He was 
inclined to suspect eYil: this was one of the dis- 
aoTeeable features in his chai"acter. Even Besancon 
Hugues was, ia his eyes, nothing but pride, hidden 
under the mask of a citizen. Bonirard, like Erasmus, 
laughed at everybody and everj-thing, except two: 
like him he was fond of letters, and still more fond 
of libert5^ At Geneva he was the man of the Re- 
naissance, as Cahin was the man of the Reformation. 
He overcame his antipathies, sat down at table with 
the young Genevans, scattered brilliant thoughts in 
their conversations, and kindled in their understand- 
ing a light that was never to be extinguished. Fri- 
volous and grave, amiable and affectionate, studious 
and trifling, Bonivard attacked the old society, but he 
did not love the new. He scourged the enoiToities 
of the monks, but he was alarmed at the severe 
doctrines of the Reformation. He desired to bury 
the past joyously, but he did not know what futm'e 
to set up in its place. 

BertheHer, who fancied he knew, explained his 
plans to his friends in their familiar colloquies. The 
liberty of the Italian republics — a selfish liberty, full 
of discord and faction — had come to an end ; a more 
noble, more vital, more durable liberty was destined 
to appear. But neither the politic Berthelier nor 
the aesthetic Bonivard thought of the new element 
which in new times was to give life to modern 
liberties : this element was a strong faith, it was the 
authority of God, held up on high, that was destined 
to consolidate society after the great earthquake 
it would have to go through. After Berthelier the 


republican, after Bonivard the classic, another man 
was to appear, tertium genus, a third kind, as they 
said at the time when paganism and Judaism dis- 
appeared before the Gospel. A Christian hero, boldly 
standing erect above the volcano of popular pas- 
sions, was called in the midst of the convulsions of 
popery to lay in Geneva the foundations of enlight- 
ened society, inflexible morality, unyielding faith, 
and thus to save the cause of liberty. The work 
of Calvin, thus coming after that of Berthelier and 
Bonivard, no doubt presents a very strange juxtaposi- 
tion; but three centuries have shown its necessity. 
The Reformation is indispensable to the emancipation 
of nations. 

Berthelier, Bonivard, and their friends turned their 
eyes in another direction. ' Have done with banquets 
and dances,' said Berthelier to his friend ; ' we must 
organise young Geneva into a defensive league.' 
' Yes, let us march onwards,' rephed Bonivard, 
' and God will give a good issue to our bold enter- 
prise ! ' . . . Berthelier stretched out his hand. ' Com- 
rade,' he said, ' your hand.' * Then, as he held 
Bonivard's hand in his, he was touched with deep 
emotion : a cloud passed over his face, and he added : 
' But know that for the liberty of Geneva, you will 
lose your benefice, and I , . . I shall lose my head.' 
' He told me that a hundred times,' added the prior 
of St. Victor, who has handed down this conversation 
to us. The gloomy foreboding was but too amply 

* Bonivfird, Clwmiq. i. pp. 28, 29, and 238, 




WITHOUT delay Berthelier entered upon the 
work to which he had sworn to devote his life. 
Wishing to prepare it carefully, he invited the most 
ardent of the young Genevans to confer with him on 
the salvation of the country. He did not select for 
this meeting some lonely field, above the shores of the 
lake, as the Griitli : he had to deal with the inhabitants 
of a city and not with the children of the mountains. 
He therefore took a haU in the principal square of 
the city, la Place du Molard, then almost washed by 
the waters of the river, and appointed a time for the 
meeting when the streets were most thronged. About 
twilight one afternoon, probably in 1516 (it is diffi- 
cult to fix precisely the date of this important 
meeting *), Berthelier, and then a few other patriots, 
set out for the Molard: they came from the Rue 
du Ehone, la Rive, and from the Cit^ ; those who came 
from the upper part of the town passed down the 
Rue du Perron. As they walked, they conversed of 

* PiScolat, in his examination of 5th of August, 1517, saya : 'Ahoiit 
a year ago.'' — Galiffe, ii. p. 41. Blanohet, in his examination of 5th of 
May, 1518, at Turin, says : ' Abovt two years ago.' — Ibid. p. 99. Then 
on 21st of May, he says : 'About a year ago.' — Ibid. p. 205. 


the tyranny of the bishop and the plots of the 
princes of Savoy. One of those who appeared to 
have the most influence was Amadeus de Joye, the 
son of distinguished, upright, and honourable parents, 
who had brought him up virtuously. The public 
voice, while proclaiming him 'a merry fellow,' added 
that he was honest and straightforward, and connected 
-with all the good men of the city : he exercised the 
honourable vocation of druggist and apothecary, and 
had always enjoyed a good reputation in his business. 
Not far from him was Andrew Navis : a change had 
taken place in the son of the procurator-fiscal. The 
cause of liberty had dawned upon his ardent soul in all 
its beauty : in it he fancied he had found the unknown 
good he had sought so eagerly ; his imagination 
had been inflamed, his heart moved, and leaving 
the Savoyard party, of which his father was one of 
the chiefs, he rushed with all his natural impe- 
tuosity to the side of independence. One of his 
fi.'iends, John Biderman, sumamed Blanchet, had ac- 
companied him, a young man about twenty-four years 
old. Full of natural wit, disliking work, very fond 
of fiin, Blanchet ' trotted up and down,' picked up all 
the news, repeated it at random, and meddled in 
everybody's business. He had, however, at bottom a 
sensitive heart, and the tyranny of the bishop provoked 
him. Berthelier, who was among the earliest arrivals, 
scanned attentively the young people and the earnest 
men who had joined them, and experienced a feeling 
of happiness at the sight. There was in him a being 
superior to the follies of banquets. The daily routine, 
the small passions, the vulgarity of mind, life such as 
he had hitherto known it, wearied him. At last he 
had before him an assembly brought together for the 


noble cause of independence ; and for that reason 
he affectionately pressed the hand of all comers. At 
this moment the beU rang for vespers at Magdalen 
old church, and was distinctly heard at the Molard. 
There were present with Berthelier about fifty citi- 
zens — a small meeting, and yet more numerous than 
that of Walter Fiirst and his friends. Besides, did 
not all noble hearts in Geneva beat in harmony with 
those of the fifty patriots ? * 

They gathered in a cii'cle round Berthelier, and 
stood silent; the heroic citizen reminded them that 
from the most remote times Geneva had been free; 
but that for one or two centuries the princes of Savoy 
had been tiying to enslave it, and that the duke only 
waited for the favourable opportunity to impose his 
usurped sovereignty upon their country. Then fixing 
his noble look upon his audience, he asked them if 
they wished to transmit to then' children not liberty 
but . . . slavery? The citizens answered No, and 
demanded anxiously how the liberties of the city 
could effectually be saved ? ' How ! ' said Berthelier. 
' By being united, by forgetting our private quarrels, 
by opposing with one mind every violation of our 
rights. We have all the same franchises, let us all 
have the same heart. If the bishop's officers lay 
hands on one of us, let all the others defend him 
with their swords, their nails, theu* teeth ! 'f Then he 
exclaimed : ' Who touches one^ touches all.'' At these 
words they all raised their hands and said : ' Yes, 
yes! one heart, one common cause! Who touches 

* Galiffe, MaUrimtx pour VHistoirc de Qenive, ii, pp. 199, 206, 210, 

t 'Ai'mis, unguibiis, et rostris.' — Galiffe, SlaUriaux, kc. Joye's 
Exam. ii. p, 215. 


one, touches all!' — 'Good,' resumed Berthelier, 'let 
this motto be the name of our alliance, but let us 
be faithful to the noble device. If the bishop's 
constables take one of us to prison, let us rescue 
him from their hands. If they indulge in criminal 
extortions, let us seek out the abominable plunder 
even in their houses.' And then he repeated in a 
loud voice : ' Who touches one, touches all ! ' And 
yet in the midst of this enthusiasm, the marks of fear 
could be seen on some faces. One citizen asked 
with considerable uneasiness what they would do if 
my lord of Geneva, aided by his Highness, should 
attack the city with a strong army? ' Fear nothing,' 
answered Berthelier sharply, ' we have good friends ; ' 
and he added soon after : ' I will go to the Swiss, I 
will bring back forces, and then ... I will settle 
accounts with our adversaries.' * 

From that time the consultations and debates 
became more and more frequent: the discussions 
went on in private families, at St. Victor's, in the 
houses of the principal citizens, sometimes even in 
the public places: men reminded each other of the 
customs and franchises of Geneva, and promised to 
be mutually faithful. 

One day Berthelier, Blanchet, and several other 
citizens meeting at Mugnier's to discourse round 
the table about the common interest, unfortunately 
brought with them a vile and corrupt fellow, a 
creature of the bishop's, named Carmentrant. They 
sat down, the wine circulated, and their heads soon 

* Galiffe, Materiaux, &c. Exam, of P^colat, ii. p. 42. Exam, of 
Blancliet, ib. p. 206. 


became heated : ' The bishop,' said one of them, ' has 
sold Geneva to the duke! ' — 'If he breaks his oath,' 
said another, ' his treason does not free us from ours. 
When princes trample the law under foot, the citizens 
ought to uphold it at any cost.' — 'We must let the 
bishop know,' added Berthelier, ' the resolution we 
have adopted to defend our independence.' — ' That 
is not easy,' observed one; 'how can we approach 
my lord and dare teU him all the truth?' — 'Let us 
mask ourselves,' returned he; 'we may say hard 
things under our masks. . . Let us make a momon 
at the palace.' The momon was a bet made by 
maskers when playing at dice. P^colat did not 
seem convinced. ' Leave that to me,' said Berthelier, 
' I shall find a way of speaking to the prelate.' 
Carmentrant listened in silence; he engraved in 
his memory every word of the great patriot, ready 
to add to them his private interpretations. He as- 
serted afterwards that Berthelier proposed attacking 
the prelate's life ; but the contrary was proved, and 
even the farce of the momon was never carried out. 
That mattered not ; the smallest joke at that time 
was metamorphosed into the crime of high treason.* 

Berthelier was not the only person the bishop 
caused to be watched ; Bonivard, ever sparkling with 
wit, gave opportunities to informers. He had at 
that time a difference with the bishop about the right 
of fisliing in the Rhone. One day when walking vn^th 
Berthelier and other fi-iends, he complained of the 
prelate's avarice ; and then indulging in a joke, he 

* GalifFe, Materiaux, &c. Exam, of Pecolat and Blanchet. Chroniq. 
cles Comtes cle Gcnive, ii. p. 141. 


said laughingly: 'If ever I meet him near my 
fishery, one or other of us wUl catch an ugly fish.' 
This was made a principal charge against him: he 
wished to drown the bishop. They were mistaken : 
Bonivard was not a violent character; but he was 
ambitious, and, without wishing the bishop any harm, 
he secretly aspired to the bishopric. 'I will go to 
Rome,' said he to one of his intimate friends, 'and 
will not have my beard shaved until I am bishop of 

The cornet of Turiu had not forgotten the famous 
decision of the cardinals. A few light words were 
not enough to prove to the sacred college that the 
people of Geneva were in revolt; an emeute (as the 
Savoyards called it) furnished this party with the 
arms they sought. 

On the 5th of June, 1517, the only talk throughout 
the city was about Messire Gros' mule, which was dead. 
This mule was well kno^vn, for the judge rode it when- 
ever he went on his judicial investigations. People 
seriously discussed in the streets and at table the cause 
of the death of this famous beast. ' It is Adrian of 
Malvenda,' said some, 'that Spaniard whose father 
came fi-om Valence la Grande, who, having had a 
quarrel with the judge at a dinner paiiiy, has ham- 
strung the beast.' ' No,' said others, ' some young 
Genevans meeting the judge on his mule and wishing 
to frighten him, shouted out and drew their swords : 
his servants drew also, and one of them awkwai'dly 
wounded the mule, so that it died.' * 

Messire Claude Gros or Grossi, judge of the three 

* Bonivard, Chrcmiq. ii. p. 265. GalifFe, Matiriaux, &c. ii. pp. 50, 174. 
VOL. I. n 


castles (Peney, Thiez, and Jussy) was one of those 
harsh magistrates who are hated by a whole people. 
They coupled him in this respect with the procurator- 
fiscal Peter Xavis ; and Berthelier, De Lunes, and 
De la Thoy had often threatened both of them with 
the vengeance of the patriots. Their hatred against 
these two magistrates was such that even Andi'ew 
Xavis suffered from it. In vain had he given him- 
self up heart and soul to the party of liberty ; he was 
regarded with distrust ; and men asked if any good 
could come from the house of the procurator-fiscal. 
Quite recently Andrew had had a dispute with John 
Conod on this subject. The two young people were, 
however, reconciled, and the very evening of the day 
when the mule died, Conod gave a supper to Xavis 
and thirty ' children of Geneva.' This was the name 
they gave to the young men of age to bear anns. 
That evening, however, some citizens of riper years 
joined them : among whom were Berthelier, J. de 
Lunes, E. de la Mare, J. de la Porte, J. de la Thoy, 
and J. Pecolat. ' Gentlemen,' said Bertheher after 
supper, ' it is a long time since this merry company 
has had any fun.' They were all agreed. Bertheher 
dehghted in setting his enemies at defiance without 
any regard for the consequences. ' The mule of the 
respectable Claude Grossi is dead,' he continued; 
' that judge is a wi'etch continually beating after 
lis and our friends. Let us play him a trick: let 
us sell his mule's sHn by auction to the hio-hest 
bidder.' The proposal was adopted by acclama- 
tion. Two or three, however, appeared to wish to 
withdraw : ' Let every one follow the drum on pain of 
being fined a gold crown,' said Bertheher. 'A o reed 


agreed ! ' cried the giddiest of the company. At every 
court and even in the houses of many noblemen it was 
the custom to keep fools who had the privilege of tell- 
ing the boldest truths with impunity. The Abbot of 
Bonmont had one named Master Littlejohn Smallfoot. 
Berthelier, desirous of carrying out the practical joke 
to the uttermost, sent for Littlejohn. ' Here,' said 
he, ' here 's a proclamation for you to cry through the 
streets. Forward ! ' All marched out with drawn 
swords, and, with the drunnner at their head, began 
to traverse the streets, stopping at every place where 
the ordinary publications were made. After a roll of 
the drum. Master Littlejohn blew a horn and cried 
with his squeaking voice : ' yes, this is to give 
notice that whoever wishes to buy the skua of a beast, 
of the grossest ass in Geneva, and will call at the house 
situate between the keeper's and the H6tel de Ville, 
it will be sold to the highest bidder.' ' Is not that 
where Judge Gros lives ? ' asked a bystander. ' Yes, it 's 
he that is the gross ass,' replied another. A general 
burst of laughter followed this proclamation. Andrew 
Navis in particular indulged in the most noisy de- 
monstrations ; he was bent on showing that he was as 
good a patriot as the rest. 

The oldest of the patriots were however uneasy : 
the elder L^vrier thought they were going too fast. 
' Ah,' said he, ' these young folks Avill play us a pretty 
game! ' ' Certes,' added others spitefully, ' this Ber- 
thelier has a singular talent for stirring up quarrels.'* 
The joke was continued through great part of the 

* ' Ingeniosus suscitando quam plurima detata.' — Galiffe, Materiaux, 
&c. ii. pp. 50, 61, 171, 174. Savyon, Annates, p. 64. 


The next day the judge of the three castles hastened 
to lay his complaint before the vidame and the episco- 
pal council. The vidame called for the arrest of the 
guilty parties, who disappeared. Being summoned 
by sound of trumpet to appear at the Chateau de I'lle 
under pain of being fined a hundred crowns, they 
came out of their hiding-places, and Berthelier 
brought an action against the vidame for having 
threatened him and his friends with a fine that was 
not authorised by the law. The partisans of Savoy 
were still more exasperated. ' There is a conspiracy 
against my lord the bishop-prince of Geneva,' they 
exclaimed ; ' he alone has the right of making pro- 
clamations.' They wi'ote letter after letter to Turin, 
and metamorphosed a fool's jest into the crime of 
high treason.* 

The princes of Savoy thought that this was a dis- 
order by which they might profit. Charles had the 
reputation in his hereditary states of being irresolute 
in deciding and feeble in executing ; but whenever 
Geneva was concerned, he ventured upon daring 
measures. He gave the order of departure to his 
court; took mth him one of the most learned diplo- 
matists of the age, Claude de Seyssel, whom he thought 
he should require in the great matters that were to 
be transacted, and arrived in Geneva. The vidame, 
still irritated by the story of tlie mule, immediately 
presented his homage to the duke, and described the 
situation in the gloomiest of colours. ' You see,' said 
Charles to his councillors, ' the citizens of Geneva are 

• Reg. du Conseil ad annum. Boniyard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 267, 208. 

Sayyon, Aivialus, p. .55. 


in revolt : it needs a stronger shepherd than a bishoj) 
to bring them back to their duty.' But Seyssel was a 
man of great judgment; he was no novice either in 
government or in history ; he had studied Thucydides, 
Appian, Diodorus, and Xenophon, and even rendered 
them into French. Pie inquired more particularly into 
the matter, learned that the notice had been cried by 
the Abbot of Bonmont's fool, and that it was the same 
fellow who sang habitually in the streets all the comic 
songs produced by the satiric vein of the Genevans. 
The diplomatist smiled. ' This business of the mule 
is a mere practical joke,' he said to the duke ; ' fools, 
you know, have the privilege of saying and doing 
everything; and as for the band of wags who sur- 
rounded the buifoon, do not let us make these young 
men into Cethegi and Catilines. The cardinals will 
never consent to give us the temporal sovereignty of 
Geneva for such foolery. It would be too much, my 
lord, for the first stroke; we must mount to the 
pinnacle of sovereignty by shorter steps. This 
story will not however be quite useless to us; we will 
employ it to sow dissension among our enemies.' In 
fine, the able Seyssel having come to an understand- 
ing with the bishop, the latter summoned to his 
presence those of 'the band,' that is to say, of the 
children of Geneva, whom he thought most pliable. 
' You will gain nothing,' said Claude de Seyssel to 
them, ' by following a lot of rioters and rebels. In 
making this proclamation you committed a wrongful 
action, and you might justly receive corporal punish- 
ment; but the bishop is a good prince, inclined to 
mercy; he will pardon all of you except Berthelier 
and his accomplices. He mil even give you office, 


places, and pensions . . . only do not consort any- 
more with seditious people.' Many, delighted at 
getting out of the scrape, thanked Seyssel heartily, 
and promised that they should be seen no more among 
the disaffected.* The bastard showed himself more 
difficult with regard to the son of his procurator- 
fiscal : the bravadoes of Andrew Navis, at the time 
of the proclamation about the mule, had aroused 
all the prelate's anger. It would seem that the poor 
father dared not intercede for his prodigal son ; one of 
his fi'iends obtained his pardon, but only after Navis 
had promised to reform. He returned to his father's 
office and might be seen constantly poring over the 
laws and acts of the exchequer. 

This manoeuvre having succeeded, and the party 
of the independents being thus weakened, the bishop, 
the duke, and their friends thought that its head 
should be removed : that head was BertheHer. It 
was not easy, however, to get rid of him : he was a 
member of council, much looked up to in Geneva, and 
possessed a skill and energy that baffled all their 
attempts. ' To catch this big partridge,' said the 
bishop, ' we must first trap a little decoy-bird.' The 
advice appeared excellent. The prince determined 
accordingly to catch some friend of Berthelier's, less 
formidable than himself, who by his depositions (for 
the question would not be spared) would compromise 
the best citizens in Geneva. The decoy would by 
his song draw the large birds into the nets spread to 
catch them.f 

* Bonlvard, Chroniq. ii. p. 285. SaTyon, Annates, p. 51. Mignet's 
memoir on tlie RSformation de Oenive, p. 28. 
t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 285. 




AMONG the best patriots of Geneva was John 
P^colat, whom we have already met at the 
mule supper. He had not Berthelier's strength of 
character, but he had spirit. A prey by turns to 
enthusiasm and fear, at times indulging in the most 
courageous acts or the most culpable weakness, sub- 
ject to the blackest melancholy or to fits of the maddest 
humour, Pecolat was at once a hero and a jester. His 
social position offered the same contrasts. One of' his 
ancestors had been syndic in 1409, another councillor 
in 1474; in 1508 his father had exercised the highest 
functions in the State, and he was himself one of the 
Council of Fifty ; he was well instructed, understood 
Latin, and yet was a hosier by trade. It is true that 
at this time we often find traders invested with the 
highest offices ; it is one of the peculiarities of demo- 
cratic manners ; and we meet with examples of it in 
modern society. An accident which deprived him of 
the use of his right arm, compelled him to give up 
his business, reduced him to poverty, and plunged 
him at first into great dejection. However, that did 
not last long, and there was no man in Geneva 


that had such fits of gaiety. At a banquet, nobody 
was louder than Pecolat ; he laughed and joked ; pun 
followed pun, in rapid succession. ' What happy things 
come into his head ! ' said everybody, and ' it was these 
happy things,' adds the chronicler, ' that gave him. 
access to good tables.' * When he entered the room 
a frank and hearty greeting, an enthusiasm min gled 
with laughter, welcomed his arrival. But Pecolat 
had hardly left his friends when dark thoughts 
mounted to his brain. Sitting in his narrow chamber, 
he thought of his maimed ann, his indigence, his de- 
pendent life ; he thought frequently too of the liberties 
of Geneva, which he saw sacrificed ; and this strange 
man who made aU the city laugh, would burst into 
teai's. It was not long before Pecolat compromised 
himself in such a manner as to furnish arms against 
the patriots of Geneva. 

The Bishop of Maurienne, precentor of the cathedral 
and canon of Geneva, who had a suit against the bishop, 
was then staying in the city and ' feasting' the citi- 
zens. Having one day invited several of his friends, 
and among others his colleague the Abbot of Bonmont, 
who always had a grudge against the bishop for de- 
priving him of the diocese, he invited Pecolat also. 
During the dinner the two prelates worked themselves 
into a passion against the bastard of Savoy: each 
tried who could attack him the most bitterly, and 
indeed he gave them a fan' handle. Pecolat began 
to do as the others, and to let fly his usual epi- 
grams against the bastard. Maurienne had no end of 
complaints. ' Pray, my lord,' said Pecolat, ' do not 

* Savyon, Annates, p. 63. 

CHAP. viii. 'NON VIDEBIT dies rETKI.' 105 

vex yourself about the bishop's injustice : non videhit 
dies Petri: he will not live as long as St. Peter!' 
This was a saying they were in the habit of apply- 
ing to the popes at the time of their coronation; 
and P^colat meant to say that the bishop, who, as 
everybody knew, was suffering under an incurable 
disease, could not live long. Two Savoyards, creatures 
of the duke and the bishop, who were of the party, 
went immediately and repeated these words to the 
bastard. ' At sumptuous tables,' said the prior of St. 
Victor, who was probably one of the guests, ' there 
are always gluttons picking up words that will get 
them another dinner.' The episcopal court concluded 
from the Latin proverb that the independents were 
conspiring against the bishop, and that Pecolat an- 
nounced the prelate's death as near at hand. This 
speech was not sufficient, however, to send him to 
trial : they waited for some act that would serve as a 
pretence for the charge of assassination.* 

The opportunity soon occurred. Not long after, 
the duke having crossed the mountains to present his 
homage to Queen Claude of Brittany, whom Francis I. 
had just married, and who was then at Lyons, invited 
the bishop to come and see him in this city. The bas- 
tard set off immediately : his steward ordered some fish 
pasties as provision for the journey, and the purveyor, 
whether from hurry or from desire to make a large 
profit, used fish that had been kept too long. The 
bishop did not touch them, but some of his people 
having eaten of them, fell sick; it was asserted that 
one of them died. The bastard, whose conscience 

* Savyon, Annaks, p. 53. Bonivard, Chroniq. Roset MSS. Spon, 
i. p. 267. 

106 THE REFORftlATION IN ET^ROPE. book i. 

was none of the easiest, saw an assassin everywhere ; 
and though in this matter of the pasties there was 
nothing but what was very natural, he thought or 
seemed to think that it was an attempt at poisoning. 
The idea occurred to certain Savoyards that they 
might make use of this story to accuse P^colat, and 
show the cardinals that the prince-bishop's subjects 
were conspiring against him. 

Pecolat had so Uttle to do with my lord's kitchen 
that at first the vidame refused to prosecute ; but the 
affair of Messire Gros' mule having occurred, and 
greatly annoyed the judges, they hesitated no longer. 
Pecolat was one of the band who had cried ' The 
skin of the gross beast! ' On the 27 th of July, 1517, 
a warrant was issued against him. 

It was necessary to arrest Pecolat ; but that was no 
easy thing, for the members of the society Who touche.<i 
one touches all, would no doubt rise and defend him. 
It was resolved to arrange the matter carefully. 
First they would get the most determined of the 
young men out of Geneva ; then they would entice 
Pecolat into some lonely place ; and finally, as they 
knew not what might happen, the bishop should go 
and stay in some castle beyond the reach of the Gene- 
vese. This triple stratagem was immediately put 
into execution. The Count of Genevois, who played 
the pai't of a jovial host, organised a grand hunt of 
wild animals, the rendezvous being at Vouache, two 
leagues to the west of Geneva; he invited the Abbot 
of Bonmont, Bonivard, and many young men of the 
city, whose names were in the black book, that is, 
whom they wished to get rid of. While this joyous 
company was hunting with hound and horn at the foot 


of Mont Saleve, the bisliop wdsliing to enjoy a fresher 
air (it was said) had repaired, escorted by a few- 
gentlemen, to his castle of Thiez between the moun- 
tains of Mole, Yoirons. and Reposoii-, on the road to 
Mont Blanc, a little above the point where the Gifire 
torrent joins the AiTe. At the same time one 
Maule, a secret agent of the vidame, invited Pecolat 
to take a walk with hiTn to Pressinsre, a villao-e situ- 
ated between the lake and the Yoirons, where one of 
them possessed some property. Ten horsemen set- 
ting out from the castle of Thiez lay in ambush. They 
surrounded the two pedestrians, bound and carried 
them to the castle, where the bishop having released the 
tempter, threw Pecolat into prison. When the news 
of this treachery reached Geneva, the irritation was 
directed against Maule still more than against the 
bishop. The traitor, who seems to have been a man 
of debauched life, was loaded with the people's male- 
dictions. ' !May the cancer eat Maule up ! ' they cried ; 
and this sa^Tug became a proverb applicable to trai- 
tors ever afterwards.' 

He had however played his part so well that the 
imprisoned Pecolat was exasperated not against Mm 
but against his most intrmate friend Berthelier. His 
black fit came over him. He said to himself that 
although a man of the most inoffensive character, he 
seemed destined to expiate the faults of all his partv. 
With what had they to reproach him? Mere jokes 
and laughter. . . Berthelier was the real conspira- 
tor, and he was at large. . . On the ord of April 

* Sarron, Aimaleg, p. 57. Bonivard, Chroniq. p. 2.*4. 
Roset and Gautier ilSS. 


Pecolat was removed from the dungeon into which he 
had been thrown, and conducted to the top of the 
castle, under the roof. The bishop had ordered him 
' to be examined and forced to speak the truth ; ' and 
the torture-room was at the top of the castle. After the 
usual preliminaries the examination began. The plot 
of the non videhit and the salt fish was too absurd; 
M. de Thoire, the examining judge, dwelt but little 
upon it, and endeavoured particularly (for that was 
the object of the arrest) to obtain such admissions 
as would ruin Geneva and her principal citizens. As 
Pecolat deposed to nothing that would inculpate 
them, he was tied by one hand to the rope, and, as 
he still refased to answer, was hoisted four feet 
from the floor. The poor feUow groaned deeply 
and speaking with difficulty* said: "Cursed be Ber- 
thelier for whom I am shut up ! ' He made no con- 
fession, however. 

The next day they resorted to another expedient. 
The bishop gave himself the pleasure of keeping the 
wretched man hanging to the cord while he was at din- 
ner. The servants, as they passed backwards and for- 
wards waiting on their master, said to Pecolat : ' You 
are very stupid to let yourself be put to such torture : 
confess everything. AVTiat will your silence help you ? 
Maule has told everything; he lias named So-and- 
so . . . the Abbot of Bonmont, for instance, whom 
you want to make your bishop after you have done 
for my lord.' All these traps were usr-kss — he made 
no confession. It was next detennined to expose 

* ■ Susph-ans et ab imo traliens peclort voceia.' — GaliflFe, iX'di, 
kc tierrog. ii. p. 40. 


Pecolat to a more cruel torture : the executioners tied 
his hands behind his back, and then pulled the rope 
so as to raise his arms above his head ; lastly they lifted 
him five or six feet from the floor, which was enough to 
dislocate his shoiilders. Pecolat suffered horribly, and 
he was not a Regulus. ' Let me down ! let me down ! ' 
he cried, 'and I Avill teUall.'. . . The judges, delighted 
at having vanquished the obstinate rebel at last, or- 
dered him to be lowered. Terror was in his heart, 
and his features betrayed the trouble of his mind. 
The man, usually so gay and so witty, was now pale, 
affrighted, his eyes w^andered, and he fancied himself 
surrounded by hungry dogs. He said all that they 
wanted him to say. To the falsest imputations against 
the noblest of his fi'iends he answered ' Yes, yes ! ' and 
the satisfied judges sent him back to his dungeon.* 

This was no comfort to the unhappy Pecolat : more 
terrible anguish awaited him there. The thought 
that he had deposed against his best fiiends and even 
incurred the guUt of bearing false witness, alarmed 
him seriously: the fear of God's judgment sur- 
passed all the teiTors which men had caused him. 
' Gentlemen,' said he to the noble F. de Thoire and 
others standing round him, 'my declarations were 
extorted from me only by the fear of torture. If I 
had died at that moment, I should have been eternally 
damned for my lies.' f 

The bastard, not liking to feel himself within the 
same walls as his victim, had removed to St. Joire, 
two leagues from Thiez, and there attentively watched 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, &o. Interrog. de Pecolat, ii. pp. 29-49. 
t ftid. ii. pp. 77, 80. 


the examination and tlie torture. He had acquired a 
taste for it; and accordiniilv on the 5th of August he 
ordered another prisoner to be put to the question. 
' I have some here who sa}' plenty of good things,' 
he -wrote to Geneva.* These ' good things ' >vere the 
false witness extorted bv pain and which permitted 
the imprisonment of the innocent. The terror in- 
creased in Geneva e^erj- day. People kept them- 
selves indoors, the streets Avere deserted: a few 
labourers onlj^ could be seen in the fields. Bonivard, 
who feared, and not without cause, that the bishop 
and the duke wished to cany him oft' also, did not 
leave St. Victor's. ' Things are in such a state,' 
he said, ' that no one dares venture into the countiy 
lest he should be treated like Pi^colat.' ]\lan-s- of 
the citizens quitted Geneva. One day two friends 
happened to meet in a room of the hostelry of St. 
Germain on the Jura. ' Where are you going ? ' asked 
one of them who had just come from Lyons. 'I 
am leaving Geneva,' answered the other, by name 
Du Bouchet. ' They have so tortured Pecolat that 
his arms remained hanging to the rope, and he died 
upon the rack.' Du Bouchet added : ' The Church 
not haAdng the right of putting men to death, my lord 
of Geneva will have to send somebod}- to Rome to 
get him absolved. He weeps greatly about it, the}- 
say ; but I place no trust in such crocodile's tears ! 
... I am going to Lyons. 'f 

The bishop had no notion of excusing himself to 
the pope : on the contrary, he thought only of pur- 
suing his revenge. The decoy was in the cage and 

* Qaliffe,il/«A^mK.r,itc. InteiTOg. ii. p, 276. Lettersof Jciwof Snvoy. 
t 1h\A. p. 81. 


some small birds with Mm; he -wished now at any 
cost to catch the large one, — Berthelier. Most of the 
youth of Geneva were either out of the way or dis- 
heartened; the league Who touches one touches all was 
nearly dissolved, at the moment when it ought to have 
been ready to save its founder. The bishop thought 
it superfluous to resort to stratagem or violence and 
simply required the syndics to sun-ender the great 
agitator to him. At eight o'clock in the evening of 
the 28th of July, 1517, the council was sitting, 
when the president who was on the bishop's side 
said : 'It is my lord's pleasui'e that we take up one 
of his subjects against whom he possesses sufficient 
informations which he will communicate in proper 
time and place ; and that when the said subject is in 
prison, the syndics shall execute justice, if the affiiir 
requu-es it.' * At these words every one looked at a 
seat wMch was empty for the first time. Bertheher's 
fiiends were uneasy ; and as the bishop had adopted a 
lawful course, the council answered the prelate that 
thev would take vq) the accused, provided that on 
his part he maintained the liberties of Geneva. 

As the councillors left the Hotel de Tille in the 
dai'k, they said to one another : ' It is Bertheher.' The 
friends he had among them ran off to tell him the 
news, conjru'ing him to escape the vengeance of the 
prince by flight. Bonivard joined his entreaties to 
theirs : ' The SAVord is over your head,' he said. — 
' I know it,' answered Berthelier. ' yes, I know that 
I shall die, and I do not grieve at it.' ' Really,' said 
Bonivard, ' I never saw and never read of one who 

* Putlic Reo:isters of Geneva, MSS. ad diem. 


held life so cheap.' The friends of the noble- 
minded citizen redoubled their entreaties. They 
represented to him that there remained in Geneva 
only a small number of civic guards, imperfectly 
trained to arms;* that one part of the burgesses 
would assent through fear to the plots of the 
Savoyard party, and that another part would aid 
them. Berthelier still resisted : ' God,' said he, 
'will miraculously take away their power.' f His 
friends resorted to another argument. There hap- 
pened to be just then in Geneva some envoys from 
Friburg; Berthelier's friends begged him to depart 
with them. ' Out of Geneva,' they said, ' you will 
serve the city better than within.' That consideration 
decided him. He went during the night to the 
hostelry of the Friburgers. ' We leave to-morrow,' 
they told him ; ' here is a livery cloak with the arms 
of Friburg; put it on, and thus disguised you shall 
come with us, like one of the state riders. If you 
are not recognised at the gates of Geneva or in the 
Pays de Vaud, you are safe.' The Friburgers left 
the city very early : the guard looked at them for a 
moment as they passed the gate, but without sus- 
pecting that the great republican was with them. 
He was safe. 

The next day the syndic Nergaz having delivered 
the message of the council to the bastard of Savoy, 
the latter was exasperated because instead of seizing 
Berthelier, they simply told him that they intended 
doing so. ' Do you mean to give him time to escape? ' 
he asked. The council immediately ordered a great 

* Bonivard, Chrmiiq. ii. p. 280. f lUd. p. 286. 


display of force to arrest the liberal leader. His 
friends the councillors, who knew him to be already far 
away in the country, let his enemies go on. ' Shut all 
the city gates,' said they. ' Assemble the tithing men 
and the tens ; summon the vidame to assist in exe- 
cuting the law; let the sjmdics preside in person 
over the search for the culprit.'* 'Bravo!' whis- 
pered some aside, ' shut the cage . . . the bird 
has flown.' The most zealous of the bishop's par- 
tisans hurried off to close the gates. The syndics 
and tithing men set out, followed by a great num- 
ber of citizens, and all went towards Berthelier's 
house. They searched every chamber, they sounded 
every hiding-place, but found nobody. Some were 
angry, others laughed in their sleeves; the most 
violent, supposing he had escaped to one of his 
friends, put themselves at the head of the troop and 
searched every house that Berthelier was in the habit 
of fi-equenting. As a six days' search led to nothing, 
they were forced to rest satisfied with summoning 
the accused by sound of the trumpet. No one had 
any more doubts about his escape : the liberals were 
delighted, but anger and vexation prevailed at the 

* Registers of the Council of Geneva, MSS. 29th July, 1517. 

VOL. I. 




BERTHELIER'S flight was more than a flight. 
He went to Switzerland; and from that day- 
Switzerland turned towards Geneva, and held out the 
hand to her. 

Disguised in the livery of an usher of the city 
of Friburg, the faithful citizen arrived there with- 
out hindrance. No one there felt more affection 
for Geneva than Councillor Marty, governor of the 
hospital, who by his energy, rank, and intelligence, 
possessed great influence in the city. Bertheher 
went to his house, sat down at his hearth, and 
remained for some time sorrowful, silent, and motion- 
less. It was thus that an illustrious Roman had 
formerly sat with veiled head at the hearth of a 
stranger ; but Coriolanus sought among the Volsci the 
means of destroying his country, Berthelier sought at 
Priburg the means of saving his. A great idea, which 
had long since quickened in the hearts of himself and 
some other patriots, had occupied his mind while he 
was riding through the Vaudois territoiy. Times 
had changed. The long conspiracy of Savoy against 
Geneva was on the point of succeeding. The obstinate 
duke, the dishonoured bishop, the crafty count — all 


united their forces to destroy the independence of 
the city. Switzerland alone, after God, could save 
it from the hands of the Savoyards. Geneva must 
become a canton, or at least an ally of Switzerland. 
' For that,' said Berthelier, ' I would give my head.' 
He began to discourse familiarly with his host. He 
told him that he had arrived in Friburg, poor, 
exiled, persecuted, and a suppliant; not to save his 
life, but to save Geneva; that he had come to pray 
Friburg to receive the Genevans into citizenship. 
At the same time he described with eloquence the 
calamities of his country. Marty greatly moved 
held out his hand, told him to take courage and 
to follow him into the ' abbeys ' where the guilds 
assembled. ' If you gain them,' he said, ' your cause 
is won.' 

The Genevan and the Friburger imniediately set 
off together to the chief of these ' abbeys ' or clubs. 
They had scarcely entered the haU, when Marty in 
some confusion whispered into his companion's ear: 
'Some of the duke's pensioners are here; veil your 
meaning, for fear they should stop our work.' Ber- 
theher took the hint, and, rendered cautious by the 
presence of his enemies, spoke in ambiguous lan- 
guage, concealing his thoughts, but in such a manner 
that they might be guessed. He spoke of the wars 
that Burgundy had waged against Switzerland and of 
Charles the Bold ; he intended thus to remind them 
of the war Savoy was now making uj)on Geneva and of 
Charles the Good. He hinted that the Swiss ought 
to distrust the Duke of Savoy, however smiling the 
face he showed them. Had they not spoiled his 

1 2 


country during the Burgundian wars, and did they 
not still occupy a part of it ? ' Your ancestors,' said 
Berthelier, ' have plundered and ravaged certam pro- 
vinces — you know which — and in any case others 
do not forget it. . . If somebody should become mas- 
ter of Geneva, he would fortify it against you . . . 
but if Geneva became your ally, you could make 
it your rampart against all princes and potentates.' 
Every one knew of whom Berthelier was speak- 
ing. But if he saw the angry eye of some pen- 
sioner of Savoy fixed upon him, he became more 
guarded, his language more figurative and inter- 
rupted; he spoke lower, and 'as if at random,' said 
Bonivard. Then remembering Geneva, his courage 
revived, and his energetic accents burst forth again 
in the council of Friburg. He then forgot all pru- 
dence, and made, says the chronicler, a great lament 
of the oppression under wliich the city groaned. 
This speech, which aroused violent storms, was not 
to remain useless : Berthelier's eloquent words were 
fruitful thoughts, cast into the hearts of the people 
of Friburg. Like those seeds which, borne by the 
tempest, fall here and there among the Alps, they 
were destined one day 'to revive in Geneva the 
ancient tree of her liberties.* 

The exile desired that the Friburgers should see 
the misfortunes of Geneva with their own eyes, and 
connect themselves with the principal men there. 
If Geneva and Friburg come together, he thought, 
the flame will break out and the union will 
be cemented. He attained his end. Some citizens 

• Histoire de Omive, \>y Pictet de Sergy, ii. p. 313, Bonivard, 
Chroniq. Spon, i. p. 287. Savyon, Annates, p. 68. 


of Friburg set off, arrived at Geneva, and were wel- 
comed by Besan9on Hugues, Vandel, and all the 
patriots. They dined sometimes "with one, sometimes 
"with the other. They spoke of the liberties of the 
S"wiss ; they described their heroic struggles, and in 
these animated conversations, hearts were melted and 
united in such a way as to form but one. The depu- 
ties, having been received by the council, complained 
of the "violation of the fi'anchises of the city, and 
demanded a safe-conduct for Berthelier, Three coun- 
cillors immediately set off for St. Joire, a "sdllage in 
the mountains, a few leagues from Geneva, where the 
bastard happened to be staying at a castle he possessed 
there. John did not like to be disturbed in his country 
retreats ; he gave orders, however, that the magistrates 
should be admitted, when they set before him pretty 
plainly the complaints of the Friburgers. ' What ! 
I "violate the fi'anchises ! ' he exclaimed, "with a look of 
astonishment, ' I had never even thought of it. A 
safe-conduct for Berthelier . . . why, he does not 
require one. If he believes himself innocent, let 
him come ; I am a good prince. . . No, no, no ! No 
safe-conduct!' On the 12th of August the syndics 
communicated this answer to the Friburgei's. The 
S"wiss were indignant, and as if the syndics had some 
share in the matter, they upbraided them : ' Why even 
the Turks would not refuse a safe-conduct, and yet a 
bishop dares do it ! A safe-conduct useless ? . . . Was 
not Pecolat seized a few days ago beyond the bounds of 
the city? Did they not expose him to such torture that 
pain extorted from him all they wanted? Citizens 
have left the to"wn in alarm ; others are shut up in their 
houses. Are they not always bringing one or another 


into trouble? And yet the bishop refuses Berthelier a 
safe-conduct ? . . . Very well ! "we will get together all 
these grievances and see them remedied. Rest assured 
of this . . . we will risk our persons and our goods. 
We will come in such force that we will take his High- 
ness's governor in the Pays de Vaud, the friends of 
Savoy in your city, and then — we will treat them as you 
have treated our friends.' — Upon this they departed 
in great anger, say contemporary manuscripts.* 

The language of the Friburgers, repeated from 
house to house, inflamed all hearts. The union 
between Geneva and Switzerland was, so to speak, 
accomphshed before any pubhc act had rendered it 
official and authentic. Berthelier had foreseen that 
Geneva would find in the Helvetic league a mightier 
protection than in that of the young men enrolled 
beneath the flag of dissipation. f From that moment 
a political party was slowly formed, a party calm but 
firm, which put itself at the head of the movement 
and replaced the licentious band of the ' children of 

The Friburg deputies had hardly left the city, 
when the duke's party accosting the independent 
Genevans, and gallicising each in his own way the 
German word Eidesgenossen (confederates) which they 
could not pronounce, called after them Eidguenots, 
Eignots, Eyguenots, Huguenots ! This word is met 
with in the chronicles of the time written in different 
ways ; % Michel Roset, the most respectable of these 

* Public Registers of Geneva, ad diem, Bonivard, Cfhroniq. ii. p. 294. 
t M. Mignet's M^moire, p. 23. 

% Bouivard places its origin in 1618, and writes Eigtienots. {Chroniq. 
ii. p. 331.) Tlie Registers of the Council have it under the date of 3rd of 


authorities of the sixteenth century, writes Huguenots ; 
we adopt that form, because it is the only one that has 
passed into our language. It is possible that the 
name of the citizen, Besangon Hugues, who became 
the principal leader of this party, may have contributed 
to the preference of this form over all the others. In 
any case it must be remembered that until after the 
Reformation this sobriquet had a purely political mean- 
ing, ia no respect religious, and designated simply 
the friends of independence. Many years after, the 
enemies of the protestants of France called them by this 
name, wishing to stigmatise them, and impute to them a 
foreign, republican, and heretical origin. Such is the 
true etymology of the word ; it would be very strange 
if these two denominations, which are really but one, 
had played so great a part in the sixteenth century, at 
Geneva and ia French protestantism, without having 
had any connection with one another. A little later, 
about Chi-istmas, 1518, when the cause of the alliance 
was more advanced, its use became more general. The 
adherents of the duke had no sooner started the nick- 
name than their opponents, repaying them in their own 
coin, called out : ' Hold your tongues, you Mamelukes ! 
... As the Mamelukes have denied Christ to foUow 
Mahomet, so you deny liberty and the public cause 
to put yourselves under a tyranny.' * At the head 

May, 1520, and read Eyguenots. In 1521 we find in tlie trial of B. 
Toquet, Ayguinocticis sectee. (Galiffe, Materiaux, &c. ii. p. 164.) "We 
come upon it later in 1526 : Traitre JEyguenot. (Ibid. p. 506.) In the 
same year : Tu es Egaenot. (Ibid. p. 508.) Lastly, Micbel Eoset in his 
Chronicle (liv. i. ch. Ixxxix.) generally writes Huguenot. In the six- 
teenth century as well as in the nineteenth nicknames- have often passed 
from Geneva to France. 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 287. (Some MSS. of the sixteenth century 
read Mamelas, Maumelus.) 


of these Mamelukes were some forty rich tradesmen, 
men good enough at heart despite their nickname, but 
they were men of business who feared that disturb- 
ances would diminish their gains. The term Mame- 
lukes put them into a great passion : ' Yes,' continued 
the Huguenots, ' Sultan Selim conquered the Mame- 
lukes last year in Egypt; but it seems that these 
slaves, when expelled from Cairo, took refuge at 
Geneva. However, if you do not like the name . . . 
stay, since you deliver up Geneva through avarice, 
we \7t11 call you Judases !' * 

While the city was thus disturbed, the bishop, 
proud of having tortured the wretched P^colat, re- 
moved from St. Joire to Thonon. He had never 
experienced to a like degree the pleasure of making 
his power felt, and was delighted at it ; for though 
servile before the duke, he had in him some of the 
characteristics of the tyrant. He had made some- 
body tremble ! . . . and he therefore regarded the trap 
laid for P(^colat as a glorious deed, and desired to 
enjoy his triumph in the capital of Chablais. At the 
same time he repeated to every one who would listen 
to him that he would not return to Geneva : ' They 
would murder me,' he said. The Genevans, con- 
scientiously submissive to the established order, re- 
solved to display their loyalty in a marked manner. 
There lived at that time in Geneva an old man, Pierre 
d'Orsi^res, respected by -all parties, whose family pos- 
sessed the lordship of that name in Valais, on the way 
to the St. Bernard pass. Forty years before (in 1477) 
he had been one of the hostages given to the Swiss ; 
since then he had been six times elected chief magis- 

* Bouivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 288. 


trate of the State. His son Hugonin had been 'made 
a canon out of respect to his father ; but he^ was a 
fanatical priest and in after days the most,hoCTile of all 
the clergy to the Keformation. The council ^resolved 
to send a solemn deputation to the bishop, and placed 
the syndic D'Orsi^res at its head. 

•It was perhaps carrying rather far their desire to 
appear loyal subjects, and these good people of Geneva 
were to learn what it costs to flatter a tyrant. The 
bastard determiued to gaiu fresh triumphs. Toiinented 
by disease he needed diversion ; the suiFerings of his 
enemies made him feel a certain pleasure — it was 
sympathy after his fashion. He bore a mortal hatred 
agaiust all the Genevans, even against the most 
catholic : an opportunity of gratifying it offered itself. 
The deputation having appeared before him and 
made every demonstration of respect, he fixed his 
bloodshot eyes upon the noble old man, whose hoary 
head bent humbly before him, and ordered him to be 
seized, to be taken out of his sight and thrown into a 
dimgeon. If he had been proud of his exploits 
against P^colat the hosier, he was more so now at 
having by one bold stroke put out of the way a man 
whose family shone in the first rank, and whom his 
feUow-citizens had invested with the sacred character 
of ambassador. When the news of this outrage 
reached Geneva, all the city (Huguenot and Mame- 
luke) cried out. The man most respected in the 
whole State had been seized as a criminal at the very 
moment when he was giving the bishop proofs 
of the most loyal fidelity. They doubted not 
that this crime would be the signal of an attack 
upon the city; the citizens immediately ran to arms. 


Stretched the chains across the streets, and shut 
the gates.* 

The duke was displeased at these mistakes of the 
bishop, and they came upon him at a difficult moment. 
Charles III., a weak and fickle prince, inclined at that 
time to the emperor's side, and displeased his nephew 
Francis I., who seemed disposed to give him a rough- 
ish lesson. Moreover, the proceedings of the Fri- 
burgers disquieted him, for Geneva was lost to Savoy 
if the Swiss took up its cause. Liberty, hitherto 
driven back to the German Alps, would plant her 
standard in that city of the Leman, and raise a 
platform whence she would act upon all the popu- 
lations speaking the French tongue. The most skil- 
ful politicians of Savoy — Seyssel who had just been 
appointed archbishop of Turin, and Eustace Chappuis 
who understood thoroughly the mutual relations of 
states, and whom Charles V. employed afterwards in 
his negotiations with Henry VIII — represented to 
the duke that he must take care at any cost not to 
alienate the Swiss. The terrified Charles III. assented 
to everything, and Chappuis was authorised to patch 
up the blunders committed by the bishop. 

This learned diplomatist saw clearly that the great 
business was, if possible, to raise an insurmountable 
barrier between the Swiss and the Genevans. He 
reflected on the means of effecting it : and resolving 
to show himself kind and good-natured, he set out for 
Geneva. By the duke's intervention he had been made 
official of the episcopal court; as such he was sworn 
in before the syndics ; he then exerted aU his skill to 

* MS. Eegisters of the Coimcil, 8th September, 1517. 


alienate the Genevans from the Swiss and attach them 
to the house of Savoy; but his fine words did not 
convert many. ' The duke,' said the prior of St. 
Victor, ' seeing that his cats have caught no rats, 
sends us the sleekest of mousers.' Chappuis imme- 
diately set off for Friburg, where he began to prac- 
tise on the pensioners. ' Ha ! ' said they, ' Berthelier 
is an instance of what the princes of Savoy can 
do.' The diplomatist stuck at nothing: he called 
upon the fugitive and entreated him to return to 
Geneva, promising him a pardon. — ' A pardon ! ' 
exclaimed the haughty citizen, ' pardon does not 
concern good men but criminals. I demand ab- 
solution if I am innocent, and punishment if I 
am guUty.' * 

Berthelier's firmness paralysed all the diplomatist's 
efforts; and it was decided that the duke himself 
should visit Switzerland. Making a pretence of busi- 
ness at Geneva and Lausanne, Charles III. arrived 
at Friburg and Berne. He endeavoured to win 
over the cantons, induced them to dissuade the king 
of France from making war upon him, renewed his 
alliance with the League, and as they complained 
of the tyranny of his cousin the bishop, of the illegal 
arrest of P^colat, and of Berthelier's exile, he made 
them all the fairest promises. f 

But he reckoned without his host : the bishop who 
had a meaner character than the duke, had also a 
more obstinate temper. As his illustrious cousin had 
visited Switzerland, it was his duty to be there to 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 294, 295. Registers of the Council of 
Geneva, 2l3t August, 1517. Spon, Hist, de Oenbve, i. p. 278. 
t Ibid. 


receive him ; he had accordingly returned to Geneva, 
and as some sensible men had made him understand 
how deeply he was compromised in D'Orsieres' arrest, 
he set the good old man at liberty. If he con- 
sented to yield on this point, he was determined not 
to give way on others. When the syndics complained 
to him of the irregularities committed within the city 
and without, representing to him that citizens were 
arrested without cause, and that too, not by the officers 
of justice, but — a thing unprecedented — by his own 
archers, the prelate was deaf ; he turned away his 
head, looked at what was going on around him, and 
dismissed the magistrates as politely as he could. 
Accordingly when the duke returned from Friburg, 
the syndics laid all their grievances before him : ' Our 
franchises are infringed by the bishop. A citizen 
cannot be arrested beyond our boundaries, yet P^colat 
was seized at Pressinge. All criminal cases fall 
within the syndics' jurisdiction, yet P^colat has 
been tried by the episcopal officers.' Whereupon the 
bishop and the duke, wishing to have the appearance 
of giving some little satisfaction to the Swiss and 
the Genevans, transferred P^colat from his prison at 
Thiez to Geneva, and shut him up in the Chateau de 
rile. But neither the duke nor the bishop dreamt of 
letting him go ; would they ever have a better oppor- 
tunity of showing the cardinals that the bishop's life 
was in danger ? But if P^colat should appear before 
the syndics, his judges, would he be condemned? 
The duke's friends shook their heads. ' One of them, 
the elder L^vrier, an incorrigible dotard,' they said, 
' would sooner be put in prison, as in 1506, than give 


way ; another, Richardet, a hot-headed fellow, would 
wax wroth, and perhaps draw his sword ; and Porral, 
a wag like his elder brother, would turn his back and 
laugh at the Mamelukes ! ' 




PECOLAT'S condemnation became the cMef busi- 
ness of the court of Turin in its relations with 
Geneva. Archbishop Seyssel, who at that time pos- 
sessed great influence, was not for despotism: he 
approved of moderating the royal authority, but hated 
republics, and wished to take advantage of P^colat's 
trial to crush the spirit of liberty, which was display- 
ing so much energy in Geneva, and which might 
spread farther. Feeling the importance of this case, 
in combating the Huguenot influence, the archbishop 
deteriniaed to withdraw, if possible, the Genevan 
from his natural judges, and resorted to a trick un- 
worthy so great a statesman. He represented that 
high treason, the crime of which P^colat was accused, 
was not one of those comprehended under the consti- 
tutions of the city, and that the cognisance belonged 
therefore to the prince; but he could not succeed. 
' We have the power,' answered the syndics, ' to take 
cognisance of every criminal case.' All that Seyssel 
could obtain was that the bishop should appoint dele- 
gates who would sit in court and give their opinion, 
but not vote.* 

• negisters of tlie Council^ 25t]i Sept., 30th Oct., 6th, 6th, 9th, 10th 


The judges met in the Chateau de I'lle on the 
10th of December, 1517; they were surrounded by 
the duke's and the bishop's attorneys, the governor of 
Vaud, and other partisans of Savoy. Among the six 
councillors who were to sit with the syndics (the 
judges being thus ten in number), were some decided 
ducal partisans, upon whom the bishop could rely for 
a sentence of condemnation. Poor P^colat, stiU. suffer- 
ing, was brought in by the vidame. The sight of the 
syndics — of the elder L^vrier, Richardet, and Porral 
— revived his courage: he knew that they were just 
men and enemies of episcopal despotism. ' The confes- 
sions I made at Thiez,' he said, 'were wrung from me 
by torture : the judge dictated the words and I repeated 
them after him. I knew that if I did not say what 
they wanted, they would break my arms, and maim 
me for ever.'* 

After this declaration, the examination began : the 
clearness of P^colat's answers, his gentleness and 
candour, showed all present that they had before them 
an innocent man, whom powerful princes desired to 
destroy. The syndics having declared that they were 
bound to acquit him, the bishop said : ' Give him the 
question, and you wiU see clearly that he is guUty.' 
The syndics refused, whereupon the two princes 
accused them of being partial and suspected men. 
The episcopal councU, therefore, decided, that the city 
and the bishop should each appoint four judges — an 
illegal measure, to which the syndics submitted. 

The new examination ought to have taken place on 

November, 1517. Spon, Hist, de Oenive, i. p. 279. Savyon, Annales, 
p. 59. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 299. 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. Interrog. ii. pp. 75, 77, 88. 


the 20th of January, 1518 ; but P^colat, suffering 
from the torture past and terrified by the torture to 
come, had fallen seriously ill, and it was necessary 
to send the doctor to him. This man consented to 
his being carried before the court. The four episcopal 
judges immediately called for the question, but the 
syndics opposed it, and the episcopal delegates began 
to study this living corpse. After examining him 
attentively they said : ' He stUl affords some hold for 
the torture ; he may be examiued with a few torments ' 
(such is the expression in. the report). Nergaz siding 
with the Savoyard doctors, the torture was decided 
upon. Poor P^colat began to tremble from head to 
foot; he knew that he should denounce all his friends, 
and cursed his own weakness. They tied his hands 
behind his back, they showed him the rack, and inter- 
rogated him. . . ' However, they did not torture him,' 
continues the report, ' considerkig the weakness of 
his body and his long imprisonment.' They thought 
that the fear of the rack would suffice to make him 
speak; they were deceived; the sick — we might 
almost caU him the dying man, though tied up and 
bound, having the instrument of torture before 
him, answered with simplicity and frankness. Even 
the bishop's judges were struck with his candour, 
and two of them, ' having the fear of God before their 
eyes,' says Bonivard, rather than the fear of men, 
declai*ed roundly : ' They have done this poor man 
wrong. Non invenimus in eo causam. We find no 
fault in him.' * 

* MS, Registers of the Council, 24th December, 1517; 8th, 9th, 15th, 
20th .lanuaxy, 1518. Savyon, Annahs, p. 60. Bonivard, Chrmia. ii. 
p. 300. 


This honourable declaration embarrassed the duke 
all the more that he had other anxieties on his mind. 
The news from Piedmont was bad : every day he re- 
ceived letters urging him to return. ' The Marquis of 
Montferrat.' they told him, ' is committing serious de- 
predations.' But the headstrong prince was ready to 
lose his own states, if he could but get Geneva — and 
lose them he did not long after. Finding himself on the 
point of discovering a conspiracy, calculated to satisfy 
the cardinals, he resolved not to yield. His creatures 
and those of the prelate held conference after con- 
ference; at last they found a means — a diabolical 
means — of putting P^colat to death. Seeing that 
lay judges were not to be persuaded to condemn an 
innocent man, they resolved that he should be tried 
by priests. To put this plan into execution, it was 
necessary to change the layman — the ex-hosier, the 
merry fellow who was at every banquet and every 
masquerade — into a churchman. They succeeded. 
' To gratify their appetite,' said Bonivard, ' they pro- 
duced a forged letter, to the effect that P^colat was 
an ordained clerk . . . and therefore his case belonged 
not to the secular, but to the ecclesiastical judge.' 
The fraud found, or seemed to find belief in the 
official world. ' Accordingly,' goes on the chronicle, 
' they transferred him fi-om the Ch&teau de I'lle, 
which was the lay prison, to the bishop's palace 
which was the Church court, and he was placed once 
more in the hands of the Pharisees.' This was a 
stroke worthy of a celebrated religious order not yet in 
existence, but which was about to be founded to com- 
bat the Reformation. Henceforth we shall see none 
of that silly considei'ation, of that delicate circum- 

VOL. I. K 


spection, which the laymen had employed. The 
bishop, now become judge and party, 'deliberated 
how to handle him well.' Some persons having 
asserted that P^colat could not endure the rack, 
the doctors again examined his poor body: some 
said yes and others no, so the judges decided that 
the first were right, and the instrument of torture 
was prepared. It was not only heroic men like 
the Bertheliers and L^vriers, who, by their daring 
opposition to arbitrary power, were then raising the 
edifice of liberty ; but it was also these wicked 
judges, these tyrannical princes, these cruel execu- 
tioners, who by their wheel and rack were pre- 
paring the new and more equitable times of modem 

When P^colat was informed of the fatal decision, 
his terrors recommenced. The prospect of a new 
torture, the thought of the accusations he would 
make against his friends, disturbed his conscience 
and plunged him into despair. . . His features were 
distorted by it, his beard was in disorder, liis eyes 
were haggard: aU in him expressed sufifering and 
terror. His keepers, not understanding this state 
of his mind, thought that he was possessed by a 
devil. ' Berthelier,' said they, ' is a great charmer, 
he has a familiar spirit. He has charmed P^colat 
to render him insensible to the torture ; try as we 
may, he will say nothing.' It was the belief at that 
time that the charmers lodged certain devils in the 
patients' hair. The prisoner's long rough beard 

* Bonivard, Clirmiiq. ii. p. 800. Sa-vyon, Annates, p, 60. MS. Archivea 
of Geneva. 

CHAP. X. P^COLAT's self-mutilation. 131 

disquieted the bishop's officers. It was resolved 
that P^colat should be shaved in order to expel the 

According to rule it should have been an exor- 
cist and not a barber that they should have sent 
for. Robed in surplice and stole, the priest should 
have made the sign of the cross over P^colat, 
sprinkled him with holy water, and pronounced loud- 
sounding anathemas against the evil spirit. But no, 
the bishop was contented to send a barber, which was 
much more prosaic; it may be that, besides all his 
other vices, the bastard was a freethinker. The 
barber came and got his razor ready. The devil 
whom P^colat feared, was his own cowardice. ' I 
shall inculpate my best friends,' he said to himself; 
' I shall confess that BertheHer wished to kUl the 
bishop; I shall say aU they want me to say. . . 
And then if I die on the rack (which was very 
possible, considering the exhaustion of his strength) 
I shall be eternally damned for having lied in the 
hour of death.' This idea alarmed him; a tempest 
agitated his soul ; he was already in agony. ' It is 
better,' he thought, ' to cut off an arm, a foot, or even 
the tongue, than fall into everlasting perdition.' At 
this moment the barber, who had wetted the beard, 
quitted the room to throw the water out of the basin ; 
P^colat caught up the razor which the man had left 
on the table by his side and raised it to his tongue ; 
but moral and physical force both failing hun, he 
made only a gash. He was trying again, when the 
barber returned, sprang upon him in affright, snatched 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 202. SavyOD, Annales, pp. 61, 62. 

K 2 


the razor from his hand, and raised an alarm. The 
gaoler, his family, and the prince's surgeon rushed in 
and found Pdcolat ' coughing and spitting out blood 
in large quantities.' They seized him and began to 
stanch the blood, which it was not difficult to do. His 
tongue was not cut off, as some have asserted; there 
was only a deep wound. The officers of the duke 
and the bishop took extraordinary pains to cure him, 
' not to do him good,' say the chronicles, ' but to do 
him a greater ill another time, and that he might use 
his tongue in singing whatever they pleased.' All 
were greatly astounded at this mystery, of which there 
was great talk throughout the city.* P^colat's wound 
having been dressed, the bastard demanded that he 
should be put to the rack, but L^vrier, feeling convinced 
that P^colat was the innocent victim of an illegal 
proceeding, opposed it. The bishop stUl persisted in 
the necessity of obtaining a confession from him: 

' Confession! ' replied the judge, ' he cannot speak.' 

' Well then,' answered, not the executioner but, the 
bishop, ' let him write his answer.' L^vrier, as firm 
when it was necessary to maintain the respect due to 
humanity as the obedience due to the law, declared 
that such cruelty should not be practised before his 
tribunal. The bishop was forced to give way, but he 
kept account of this new offence on the part of the 
contumacious judge.f 

* Bouivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 301, 304. Roset, Sist. de Genbve, MS. 
liv. i. ch. Ixxxi. The testimony of these two contemporaiy authors 
leaves no doubt as to the reality of P^colat's attempt. (See also Savyon 
Annates, p. 61.) This circumstance has been the subject of a long archaeo- 
logical controversy, whose solution is simply this : P^colat did not cut 
off, he only cut, his tongue. 

t Wvrier, Clironologie des Comtes de Qenevois, ii. p. 131. 


All Geneva pitied the unhappy man, and asked if 
there was no one to deliver him from this den of 
thieves ? Bonivard, a man who afterwards knew in 
his own person the horrors of a prison, never ceased 
thinking of the means of saving him. He loved 
Pecolat; he had often admired that simple nature of 
his, so impulsive, so strong and yet so weak, and 
above all his devotion to the cause of the liberties 
of the city. He felt that human and divine rights, 
the compassion due to the unhappy, his duty towards 
Geneva, ('although I am not a native,' he said,) — 
all bound him to make an effort. He left his 
monastery, called upon Arm.6 Levrier, and expressed 
his desire to save Pecolat. Levrier explained to him 
that the bishop had forbidden any farther steps, and 
that the judges could not act without his consent. 
' There ishowever one means,' added he. 'Let P^colat's 
relations demand justice of me; I shall refuse, alleging 
the prince's good pleasure. Then let them appeal, on 
the ground of denial of justice,* to the metropolitan 
court of Yienne.' Bonivard, full of imagination, of 
invention, of resources, heedless of precedents, and 
energetic, immediately resolved to try this course. 
The Archbishop of Vienne (he argued) being always 
jealous of the Bishop of Geneva, would be delighted 
to humble his powerful colleague. ' I have friends, 
relations, and influence in Savoy,' said he, ' I will 
move heaven and earth, and we will teach the bastard 
a pretty lesson.' He returned to his monastery and 
sent for P^colat's two brothers. One of them, Stephen, 
enjoyed the full confidence of his feUow-citizens, and 

• ' A denegata justitia.' — ^Bonivard, Chraniq. ii. p. 306. 


was afterwards raised to the highest offices ; but the 
tyranny of the princes alarmed everybody : ' Demand 
that your brother be brought to trial,' said Bonivard 
to the two brothers. — ' No,' they answered, ' the 
risk is too serious.' . . . Bonivard's eloquence pre- 
vailed at last. Not wishing to leave them time for 
reflection, he took them forthwith to L^vrier ; the 
petition, answer, and legal appeal were duly made; 
and Stephen P^colat, who by contact with these two 
generous souls had become brave, departed for Vienne 
in Dauphiny with a warm recommendation from the 
prior. The Church of Vienne had enjoyed from ancient 
times the title of holy, of maxima sedes Galliarum, 
and its metropolitan was primate of all Gaul. This 
prelate, delighted with the opportunity of making his 
authority felt by a bishop who was then more power- 
ful than himself, summoned the procurator-fiscal, 
the episcopal council, and the bishop of Geneva to 
appear before his court of Vienne within a certain 
term, to hear judgment. In the meanwhile he for- 
bade the bishop to proceed against the prisoner under 
pain of excommunication. ' We are in the right road 
now,' said Bonivard to L^vrier. But who would 
serve this daring summons upon the bishop ? These 
writs of Vienne were held in such slight esteem by 
the powerful prelates of Geneva, that it was usual 
to cudgel the bearers of them. It might be foreseen 
that the bishop and duke would try every means to 
nullify the citation, or induce the archbishop to recall 
it. In short, this was not an ordinary case. If 
Pecolat was declared innocent, if his depositions 
against Berthelier were declared false, what would 
become of the scheme of Charles III. and Leo X. 


at which the bishop himself so basely connived? 
Geneva would remain free. . . . The difficulties 
which started up did not dishearten Bonivard ; he 
thought that the devices set on foot to enslave the 
city were hateful, and that as he wished to live and 
die there, he ought to defend it. ' And then,' adds a 
chronicler, ' the commander of St. Victor was more 
bold than wise.' Bonivard formed his resolution. 
'Nobody,' he said, 'dares bell the cat . . . then I 
wiU attempt the deed.' . . . But his position did 
not permit him 'to pass the river alone.' It was 
necessary that the metropolitan citation should be 
served on the bishop by an episcopal bailiff. He 
began to search for such a man ; and recollecting a 
certain poor clerk who vegetated in a wretched room 
in the city, he sent for him, put two crowns in his 
hand, and said : ' Here is a letter from the metro- 
politan that must be delivered to the bishop. The 
duke and the prelate set out the day after to-morrow 
for Turin ; to-morrow morning they wiU go and hear 
mass at St. Pierre; that will be the latest hour. 
There will be no time after that. Hand this paper to 
my lord.' The clerk was afraid, though the two crowns 
tempted him strongly; Bonivard pressed him : ' Well,' 
said the poor fellow, ' I will promise to serve the writ, 
provided you assist me personally.' Bonivard agreed 
to do so. 

The next day the prior and the clerk entered the 
cathedral. The princes were present, surrounded 
with much pomp : it was high mass, a farewell mass ; 
nobody was absent. Bonivard in his quality of 
canon had a place of honour in the cathedral which 
would have brought him near the bishop; but he 


took care not to go there, and kept himself at a dis- 
tance behind the clerk in order to watch him ; he feared 
lest the poor man should get frightened and escape. 
The consecration, the elevation, the chanting, all the 
sumptuous forms of Roman worship, all the great 
people bending before the altar, acted upon the 
unlucky bailiff's imagination. He began to tremble, 
and when the mass was ended and the moment for 
action arrived, ' seeing,' says Bonivard, ' that the 
game was to be played in earnest,' he lost his 
courage, stealthily crept backwards, and prepared to 
run away. But Bonivard, who was watching him, 
suddenly stepped forward, seized him by the collar, 
and placing the other hand upon a dagger, which he 
held beneath his robe, whispered in his ear : ' If you 
do not keep your promise, I swear I will kill you.' 
The clerk was almost fiightened to death, and not 
■\dthout cause, 'for,' adds Bonivard in his plain- 
spoken ' Chronicles,' ' I should have done it, which I 
do not say to my praise; I know now that I acted 
foolishly. But youth and affection carried me away.' 
He did not kill the clerk, however; he was satisfied 
with holding him tightly by the thumb, and with a 
firm hand held him by his side. The poor terrified 
man wished in vain to fly : Bonivard's dagger kept 
him motionless ; he was like a marble statue.* 

Meanwhile the duke, his brother the count, and the 
bishop were leaving the church, attended by their 
magnificent retinue, and returning to the episcopal 
palace, where there was to be a grand reception. 
'Now,' said Bonivard to the clerk, 'no more delay, 

• Bonivai'd, Chroniq. pp. 307, 308. 


you must discharge your commission ; ' then he put 
the metropolitan citation into the hand that was free, 
and still holding him by the thumb, led him thus to 
the palace. 

When he came near the bishop, the energetic prior 
letting go the thumb, which he had held as if in a 
vice, and pointing to the prelate, said to the clerk: 
' Do your duty.' The bishop hearing these words, 
' was much afraid,' says Bonivard, ' and turned pale, 
thinking I was ordering him to be killed.' The 
cowardly prelate turning with alarm towards the 
supposed assassin cast a look of distress upon those 
around him. The clerk trembled as much as he; 
but meeting the terrible eye of the prior and seeing 
the dagger under his robes, he fell on his knees before 
the bishop, and kissing the writ, presented it to him, 
saying: 'My lord, inhibitur vohis, prout in copia.^* 
He then put the document into his hand and ran off: 
' Upon this,' adds the prior, ' I retired to my priory 
of St. Victor. I felt such juvenile and silly arro- 
gance, that I feared neither bishop nor duke.' 
Bonivard had his culverins no longer, but he would 
yet have stood a siege if necessary to bring this 
matter to a successful issue. The bishop never 
forgot the fright Bonivard had caused him, and swore 
to be even with him. 

This energetic action gave courage to others. 
Fourscore citizens more or less implicated with 
Pecolat in the affair of the rotten fish — 'all honest 
people ' — appeared before the princes, and demanded 
that if they and Pecolat were guilty, they should be 

* ' You are inhibited, as in the copy.'— Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 309. 


punished; but if they were innocent that it should be 
publicly acknowledged. The princes, whose situation 
was growing difficult, were by no means eager to 
have eighty cases in hand instead of one. ' We are 
sure,' they answered, ' that this poisoning is a thing 
invented by certain wicked men, and we look upon 
all of you as honest people. But as for P^colat, he 
was always a naughty fellow ; for which reason we 
wish to keep him a short time in prison to cori*ect 
him.' Then fearing lest he should be liberated by 
force during their absence, the princes of Savoy had 
him transferred to the castle of Peney, which was 
contrary to the franchises of the city. The transfer 
took place on the 29th of January, 1518.* 

A division in the Church came to P^colat's as- 
sistance. Since the struggles between Victor and 
Polycrat in the second century, between Cyprian 
and Stephen in the third, dissensions between the 
catholic bishops have never ceased ; and in the 
middle ages particularly, there were often severe 
contests between the bishops and their metropoli- 
tans. The Archbishop of Vienne did not under- 
stand yielding to the Bishop of Geneva, and at the 
very moment when Luther's Theses were resounding 
throughout Christendom — in 1517 and 1518 — the 
Eoman Church on the banks of the Rhone was giving 
a poor illustration of its pretended unity. The metro- 
politan, finding his citations useless, ordered the 
bishop to liberate P^colat, under pain of excormnuni- 
cation ; f but the episcopal officers who remained in 

• Galiife, Bouivard, Council Eegisters. 

t ' Mandamus relaxari sub poena excommunicationia.' — Savyon, 
Annales, p. 63. 


Geneva, only laughed, like their master, at the metro- 
politan and his threats. 

P^colat's friends took the matter more seriously. 
They feared for his life. Who could tell whether the 
bastard had not left orders to get rid of the prisoner, 
and left Geneva in order to escape the people's anger ? 
These apprehensions were not without cause, for more 
than one upright man was afterwards to be sacrificed 
in the castle of Peney. Stephen P^colat and some of 
his brother's friends waited on St. Victor : ' The supe- 
rior metropolitan authority has ordered P^colat to be 
released,' they said ; ' we shall go off straight in search 
of htm.' The acute Bonivard represented to them 
that the gaolers would not give him up, that the castle 
was strong, and they would fail in the attack ; that 
the whole people should demand the liberation of the 
innocent man detained by the bishop in his dungeons, 
in despite of the liberties of the city and the orders 
of his metropolitan. ' A little patience,' he continued ; 
' we are near the beginning of Lent, holy week is not 
far off; the interdict will then be published by the 
metropolitan. The christians finding themselves 
deprived of the sacrament wiU grow riotous, and 
wiU compel the bishop's officers to set our friend at 
liberty. Thus the inhibition which we served upon 
the bishop in his palace, will produce its effect in 
despite of him.' The advice was thought sound, 
they agreed to it, and everybody in Geneva waited 
with impatience for Easter and the excommunication. 

Anthony de la Colombiere, official to the metro- 
politan of Vienne, arrived to execute the orders of his 
superior, and having come to an understanding with 
the prior of St. Victor and judge L^vrier, he ordered. 


on the 18tli of March, that Pecolat should be released 
within twenty-four hours. He waited eight days, but 
waited in vain, for the episcopal officers continued to 
disobey him. Then, on Good Friday, the metropolitan 
officers, bearing the sentence of excommunication and 
interdict, proceeded to the cathedral at two o'clock in 
the afternoon, and there, in the presence of John Gal- 
latin, notary, and three other witnesses, they posted up 
the terrible monition ; at four o'clock they did the same 
at the churches of St. Gervais and St. Germain. This 
was not indeed the thunder of the Yatican, but it was 
nevertheless the excommunication of a prelate who, 
at Geneva, filled the first place after the pope in the 
Roman hierarchy. The canons, priests, and parish- 
ioners, as they went to evening prayers, walked up to 
the placards and were quite aghast as they read them. 
'We excommunicate,' they ran, ' the episcopal officers, 
and order that this excommunication be published in 
the churches, with beU, book, and candle. Moreover, 
we command, under pain of the same excommunica- 
tion, the syndics and councillors to attack the castles 
and prisons wherein Pecolat is detained, and to libe- 
rate him by force. Finally we pronounce the interdict 
against all places wherein these excommunicates are 
found. And if, like the deaf adder, they persist in 
their wickedness, we interdict the celebration not 
only of the sacraments, but also of divine service, in 
the churches of St. Pierre, Notre Dame la Neuve, St. 
Germain, St. Gervais, St. Victor, St. Leger, and Holy 
Cross.' * After the canons and priests had read this 
document, they halted in consternation at the threshold 

* Galiffe, Matdriaiix, &c. ii. p. 91. 


of the church. They looked at one another, and asked 
what was to be done. Having well considered, they 
said : ' Here 's a barrier we cannot get over,' and they 

As the number of devout catholics was still pretty 
large m Geneva, what Bonivard had foreseen came 
to pass ; and the agitation was general. No more 
services, no more masses, no baptisms, no marriages 
. . . divine worship suspended, the cross hidden, 
the altars stripped.* . . . What was to be done? 
The chapter was sitting, and several citizens appeared 
before them in great irritation. ' It is you,' they 
said to the terrified canons, ' that are the cause of all 
this.' . . . Nor was this aU. The excommunicates 
of the Savoyard parishes of the diocese used to come 
every year at the approach of Easter and petition the 
bishop's official for letters of consentment, in order that 
their parish priests might give them the communion. 
' Now of such folks there chanced to be a great num- 
ber at Geneva. Heyday, they said, it is of no use 
putting one obstacle aside, when another starts up 
immediately, all owing to the fault of these episcopal 
officers ! ' ... The exasperated Savoyards united 
with the Genevans, and the agitated crowd assembled 
in front of the cathedral gates ; the men murmured, 
the women wept, even priests joined the laity. Loud 
shouts were heard erelong. The people's patience 
was exhausted ; they took part against their bishop. 
' To the Ehone,' cried the devout, ' to the Rhone 
with the traitors ! the villains who prevent us from 
receiving our Lord. I ' The excommunicated episcopal 

* ' Altaria niidentur, cruces abscondantm-.' 


officers had a narrow escape from drowning. All the 
diocese fancied itself excommunicated, and accord- 
ingly the confusion extended beyond the city. The 
syndics came up and entreated the citizens to be calm ; 
and then, going to the episcopal council, the bishop 
being still absent, they said : ' Release Pdcolat, or we 
cannot protect you against the anger of the people.' 
The episcopal officers seeing the bishop and the duke on 
one side, the metropolitan and the people on the other, 
and impelled in contrary directions, knew not whom 
to obey. It was reported to them that all the city 
was in an uproar, that the most devout catholics wished 
at any cost to communicate on Easter Sunday, and 
that looking upon them as the only obstacle which 
prevented their receiving the host, they had deter- 
mined to throw them over the bridge. ' The first of 
you that comes out shall go over,' cried the crowd. 
They were seized with great alarm, and fancying 
themselves half di'owned already, wrote to the go- 
vernor of Peney to release Pecolat forthwith. The 
messenger departed, and the friends and relations of 
the prisoner, not trusting to the episcopal court, 
accompanied him. During the three-quarters of an 
hour that the walk occupied, the crowd kept saying : — 
suppose the governor should refuse to give up his 
victim; suppose the bastard's agents have already 
carried him away — perhaps put him to death ? None 
of these suppositions was realised. Deep in a dun- 
geon of the castle, the poor man, heavily chained, in 
utter darkness, wrecked both in mind and body, was 
giAdng way to the blackest melancholy. Suddenly he 
hears a noise. He listens; he seems to recognise well- 
known voices : it was his brothers and his friends 

CHAP. X. PECOLAT'S release. 143 

arriving noisily under the walls of the castle, and 
giving utterance to their joy. 

Their success was, however, less certain than it 
appeared to them. Strange things were, in fact, 
taking place at that moment in Geneva. The bishop 
and the duke had not been so passive as had been 
imagined, and at the very instant when the messenger 
bearing the order from the episcopal court, and 
accompanied by a body of Genevans, was leaving by 
the French gate, a courier, with an order from the 
Roman court, entered by the Savoy gate. The latter 
went with all speed to the bishop's representatives, 
and handed them the pontifical letters which the 
princes had obtained, and by which the pope annulled 
the censures of the metropolitan. This Eoman mes- 
senger brought in addition an order from the bishop 
forbidding them on their lives to release P^colat. The 
bastard had shuddered at the thought that the wretch 
whom he had so successfully tortured, might escape 
him: he had moved heaven and earth to keep him in 
prison. We may imagine the emotion and alarm 
which fell upon the episcopal councillors when they 
read the letters handed to them. The coincidence of 
the moment when these two contradictory orders left 
Geneva and arrived there is so striking, that we may 
ask whether these letters from Rome and Turin were 
not supposed — invented by the episcopal officers 
themselves ; but there is nothing in the narrative to 
indicate a trick. '■Immediately on reading the letters, 
the episcopal officers with all diligence countermanded 
the release.' These words in the ' Annals ' show the 
precipitation with which they endeavoured to repair the 
mistake they had committed. There was not, in fact, a 


moment to lose, if they wished to keep P^colat. Several 
officers got on horseback and set off full gaUop. 

The bearers of this order were hardly halfway, 
when they met a numerous jubilant and noisy crowd 
returning from Peney. The friends of Pdcolat, 
preceded by the official letters addressed to the 
governor, had appeared before that officer, who, after 
reading the despatch over and over, had thought it 
his duty to obey. P^colat's friends hurried after the 
gaoler, who, carrying a bunch of keys in his hand, 
went to open the cell ; they entered with him, 
shouting release ! They broke the prisoner's chains ; 
and, finding him so weak, carried him in their arms 
and laid him in the sunshine in the castle yard. 
Without loss of time they placed him in a pea- 
sant's cart and all started for Geneva. This was 
the crowd met by the episcopal officers. The 
Genevans were bringing back their friend with 
shouts of joy. In vain did the episcopal officers 
stop this joyous band, and require that the prisoner 
should be led back to Peney ; in vain did they speak 
of the bishop and even of the pope; all was of no 
use. Despite the rogations of the pope, the prelate, 
and the messengers, the people carried Pecolat back 
in trimnph. This resistance offered to the Roman 
pontiff, at the moment he was lending assistance to 
the bastard in his oppression of a poor innocent 
man, was, as it were, an affair of outposts ; and the 
Genevans were thus training themselves for more 
notable battles. ' Forward,' they shouted, ' to the 
city ! to the city ! ' and the crowd, leaving the episco- 
pal officers alone in the middle of the road, hastened 
to the gates. 


At last they approached Geneva, and there the 
excitement was not less great than on the road. 
P^colat's return was the triumph of right over in- 
justice, of liberty over despotism; and accordingly it 
was celebrated with enthusiasm. The poor man, 
dumb (for his wound was not yet healed), shattered 
by the torture, and wasted away by his long cap- 
tivity, looked silently on all around him, and expe- 
rienced an emotion he could hardly contain. After 
such trials he was returning into the old city amid 
the joyous cries of the population. However, his 
friends did not forget the orders of the pope and the 
bishop ; and fearing lest the vidame should again seize 
the poor fellow, they took him to the convent of the 
Grey Friars of Rive, an asylum reputed inviolable, 
and quartered him in the cell of his brother, the 
monk Yvonnet. There the poor invalid received all 
the affectionate attendance he required ; he remained 
some time without saying much ; but at last he re- 
covered his speech, ' by the intercession of a saint^ 
said the priests and P^colat himself, as it would 
appear. Was it devoutly or jestingly that he spoke 
of this pretended miraculous cure ? We shall not 
decide. Bonivard, who perhaps no longer believed 
in the miracles of saints, assigns another reason : 
' The surgeons dressed the wound in his tongue ; ' 
and he adds : ' He always stuttered a Httle.' If 
Bonivard had doubts about the saints, he believed 
in the sovereign justice of God : ' Then came to pass 
a thing,' he said, 'which should not be forgotten; all 
the judges who condemned P^colat to be tortured 
died this year, one after another, which we cannot 

VOL. I. L 


suppose to have happened except as a divine 

The remembrance of P^colat's torture long re- 
mained in the memory of the citizens of Geneva, and 
contributed to make them reject the rule of the 
Romish bishops.* In fact the interest felt for this 
victim of episcopal cruelty was manifested in every 
way. The cell of brother Yvonnet, in the Grey 
Friars' convent, was never empty ; everybody wished 
to see the bishop's victim. The prior of St. Victor 
was one of the first to come, attended by several 
friends. The poor man, being tongue-tied, told ' the 
mystery of his sufferings with his fingers,' says Boni- 
vard. It was long since there had been such an 
interesting sight in Geneva. The citizens, standing 
or sittiag around him, could not turn their eyes away 
from his thin pale face. By his gestures and attitudes 
Pecolat described the scenes of the examination, the 
torture, and the razor, and in the midst of these re- 
membrances which made the tears come to his eyes, 
he from time to time indulged in a joke. The young 
men of Geneva looked at each other and trembled 
with indignation . . . and then sometimes they 
laughed, at which the episcopal officers ' were terribly 
enraged.' The latter were in truth both vexed and 
angry. What ! they receive an order from the bishop, 
an order from the pope, and only a few minutes 
before they have issued a contrary order ! Strange 
mishap ! Not knowing whom to blame, they impri- 
soned the governor, who had only released Pecolat 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 310, 315, 316. Sayyon, A/males, p. 65. 
Spon, Hist, de Geneve, i. p, 286. Roset MSS. 


by their command, and to cover their responsibility 
"were actually planning to put him to death. 

Some timid and alarmed citizens dared not go and 
see P^colat ; one of these was Blanchet, the friend of 
Andrew Navis, who had been present at the famous 
meeting at the Molard and the momon supper, and 
who, falling not long after beneath the bishop's 
violence, was doomed to expiate his errors by a most 
cruel death. Blanchet is the tj^pe of a character fre- 
quent at this epoch. Having learnt, shortly after the 
famous momon banquet, that a certain individual 
whose name even he did not know, but who, he said, 
' had given him the lie to his face,' was in Burgundy, 
Blanchet set off after him, gave him a box on the ears, 
and returned. He came back to Geneva, thence he 
went into Faucigny, and afterwards to Italy ; he took 
part in the war between the pope and the Duke of 
Urbino (who so terribly frightened Leo X.) ; returned 
to Pavia, thence to Turin, and finally to Geneva. His 
cousin Peter, who lived in Turin, had told him that 
during his travels P^colat had been arrested for 
plotting against the bishop. ' I shall not go and see 
him,' he said, 'for fear of compromising myself.' In 
spite of his excessive precaution, he could not finally 
escape the barbarous vengeance of the prelate.* 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 316, 817. Qaliffe, Mat^naux, &c. ii. 
pp. 196, 197. 

L 2 

148 THE EEF0R5IATI0N IN EUROPE. book i. 




NO one embraced P^colat witli so much joy as 
Berthelier, who had returned to Geneva within 
these few days. In fact the duke, desirous to please 
the Swiss by any means, had given him, and also made 
the bishop give him, a safe-conduct which, bearing date 
February 24, 1518, extended to Whitsunday, May 
23, in the same year. The favour shown the repub- 
lican hero was not great, for permission was granted 
him to return to Geneva to stand his trial ; and the 
friends of the prelate hoped that he would not only 
be tried, but condemned and put to death. Notwith- 
standing these forebodings, Berthelier, a man of spirit 
and firm in his designs, was returning to his city to 
accomplish the work he had prepared in Switzerland : 
namely, the alliance of Geneva with the cantons. He 
had taken great trouble about it during his residence 
among the confederates. He was seen continually 
' visiting, eating, drinking in the houses of his friends 
or at the guUds (called abbeys), talking with the 
townsfolk, and proving to them that this alliance 
would be of great use to all the country of the 


League.' Berthelier was then full of hope ; Geneva 
was showing herself worthy of liberty ; there was an 
energetic movement towards independence; the people 
were wearied of the tyranny of princes. Free voices 
were heard in the general council. ' No one can 
serve two masters,' said some patriots. ' The man who 
holds any pension or employment from a prince, or has 
taken an oath to other authorities than the republic, 
ought not to be elected either syndic or councillor.' 
This resolution was carried by a large majority. 
And better stiU, the citizens chose for syndics three 
men capable of guarding the franchises of the com- 
munity ; they were Ramel, Vandel, and Besangon 
Hugues. A mameluke, ' considering the great credit 
of the party,' had also been elected, but only one, 
Montyon ; he was the premier syndic* 

Whilst the patriots were thus making efforts to 
save the independence of the city, the duke, the 
bishop, the count. Archbishop Seyssel, and other coun- 
cillors, meeting at Turin, were pursuing contrary 
schemes. Would they succeed ? Seyssel, the illus- 
trious author of the Grande Monarchie, might tell 
them that in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, in 
France, Burgundy, and Flanders, the bishop and the 
lay lord had combined against the liberties of the 
towns, and aided by arms and anathemas had main- 
tained a war against the communes which had ended 
in the destruction of the rights and franchises of 
the citizens. Then the night was indeed dark in 
the social world. At Geneva, these rights existed 

* Council Registers of 7th February, 1518. Savyon, Annales, p. i 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 311, 


still: you could see a flickering light gliramering 
feebly in the midst of the darkness. But would 
not the bishop and the duke succeed in extinguish- 
ing it? If so, despotism would hold aU Europe 
under its cruel hand, as in the Mahometan and other 
countries of the world. Why should the operation 
carried through at Cambray, Noyon, St. Quentin, 
Laon, Amiens, Soissons, Sens, and Rheims, fail on the 
shores of the Leman ? There was indeed a reason 
for it, but they did not take it into account. We do 
not find this reason — at least not alone — in the fact 
that the heroes of liberty were more intrepid at Geneva 
than elsewhere. The enfranchisement was to come 
from a higher source : God then brought forth light and 
liberty. The middle ages were ending, modern times 
were beginning. The princes and bishops of Roman 
Catholicism, in close alliance, had everywhere re- 
duced to ashes the edifice of comxuunal liberties. But 
in the midst of these ashes some embers were found 
which, kindled again by fire from heaven, lighted up 
once more in the world the torch of lawful liberty. 
Geneva was the obstacle to the definite annihila- 
tion of the popular franchises, and in Geneva the 
strength of the obstacle was Berthelier. No wonder 
then that the Savoyard princes agreed that in order to 
check the triumph of the spirit of independence, it 
was absolutely necessary to get rid of this proud, 
energetic, and unyielding citizen. They began to 
prepare the execution of their frightful project. A 
strange blindness is that Avhich imagines that by 
removing a man from the world it is ppssible to 
thwart the designs of God ! 

Berthelier, calm because he was innocent, provided 


besides with an episcopal safe-conduct, had appeared 
before the syndics to be tried. The duke and the 
bishop had given orders to their agents, the vidame 
Conseil and Peter Navis, the procurator-fiscal, to ma- 
nage his condemnation. The trial began: 'You are 
charged,' said these two magistrates, 'with having 
taken part in the riotous amusements of the young 
men of Geneva.' — 'I desired,' answered Berthelier 
frankly, ' to keep up the good-wiU of those who were 
contending for liberty against the usurpations of ty- 
rants.' The justification was worse than the charge. 
' Let us seize him by the throat, as if he were a 
wolf,' said the two judges. ' You have conspired,' 
they continued, ' against the life of the prince-bishop,' 
and they handed in Pecolat's depositions as proof. 
'All lies,' said Berthelier coldly, 'lies extorted by 
the rack and retracted afterwards.' Navis then pro- 
duced the declarations of the traitor Carmentrant, 
who, as we have seen at the momon supper, under- 
took the ofiice of informer. ' Carmentrant ! ' con- 
temptuously exclaimed the accused, ' one of the 
bishop's servants, coming and going to the palace 
every day, eating, drinking, and making merry . . . 
a pretty witness indeed ! The bishop has prevailed 
upon him, by paying him well, to suffer himself to 
be sent to prison, so that he may sing out against 
me whatever they prompt him with . . . Carmentrant 
boasts of it himself! ' When they sent the report 
to the bishop, he perceived, on reading it, that 
this examination, instead of demonstrating the guilt of 
the accused, only revealed the iniquity of the accuser ; 
the alarmed prelate therefore wrote to the vidame 
and Navis to ' use every imaginable precaution.' It 


was necessary to destroy Berthelier witliout compro- 
inising the bishop. 

Navis was the man for that. Of a wily and 
mahcious character, he understood nothing about 
the liberties of Geneva; but he was a skilful and 
a crafty lawyer. ' He so mixes retail truth with 
wholesale falsehood,' people said, 'that he makes 
you believe the whole lump is true. If any ini- 
quity of the bishop's is discovered, straight he cuts 
a plug to stop the hole. He is continually forging 
new counts, and calling for adjounxments.' Navis, 
finding himself at the end of his resources, began 
to turn and twist the safe-conduct every way : it ex- 
pressly forbade the detention of Berthelier's person. 
That mattered not. ' I demand that Bertheher be 
artested,' he said, 'and be examined in custody; for 
the safe-conduct, if you weigh it weU, is not opposed 
to this.' * — ' The first of virtues,' said Berthelier, ' is 
to keep your promise.' Navis, little touched by this 
morality, resolved to obtain his request by dint of 
importunity ; the next day he required that ' Berthe- 
lier should be shut up closely in prison ; ' on the 
20th of April, he moved that ' he should be in- 
carcerated ; ' and on the following day, he made the 
same request; about the end of May he demanded 
on two different occasions, not only that ' the noble 
citizen should be arrested but tortured also.' . . . 
All these unjust prayers were refused by the court. f 
Navis, being embarrassed and irritated, multiplied his 

* ' Si bene ritminetui.' — Galiffe, Matiriaiix, &c. Berthelier documents, 
ii. p. 105. 

t Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. Bertlaelier papers, ii. pp. 113, 114, 116, 
125, 132. 


accusations ; his plaint was like an overflowing 
torrent : ' The accused,' he said, ' is a brawler, 
fighter, promoter of quarrels, illegal meetings, and 
seditions, rebellious to the prince and his oificers, 
accustomed to carry out his threats, a debaucher of 
the young men of the city, and all without having 
ever been corrected of his faults and excesses.' — 
' I confess that I am not corrected of these faults,' 
answered Berthelier with disdain, ' because I never 
was guilty of them.' * It was determined to associate 
with the syndics some commissioners devoted to the 
bishop; but the syndics replied that this would be 
contrary to law. The vidame and Navis, not know- 
ing what to do next, wrote to the duke and the 
prelate to find some good grievances. ' You shall 
have them,' they answered ; ' we have certain wit- 
nesses to examine here, this side the mountains.' . . . 
Who were these witnesses? Navis little imagined 
that one of them was his own son, and that the 
inquiry would end in a catastrophe that would extort 
from him a cry of anguish. Let us now see what was 
going on at Turin.f 

Blanchet, disgusted with his condition since he had 
been to the wars, cared little for Geneva. During 
his sojourn at Turin, in the house of the magnificent 
lord of Meximieux, the splendour of the establish- 
ment had dazzled him. His love for liberty had 
cooled down, his taste for the luxuries and comforts 
of life had increased. ' I will seek patrons and for- 
tune,' he often repeated. With this object he returned 
fi:"om Geneva to Turin. It was the moment when the 

* Q-aliffe, Materumx, &c. Berthelier papers, ii. pp. 124, 125. 
t Ibid. p. 133. Bonivard, aironiq. ii. pp. 311-318. 


bishop was on the watch to catch one of the ' children 
of Geneva.' Blanchet was seized and thrown into 
prison; and that was not all.* 

Andrew Navis, who, since the affair of the mule, 
had led a more regular life, was dreadfully weary 
of his father's of&ce. One Sunday, M. de Vernier 
gave his friends a splendid breakfast, to which Navis 
and Blanchet had been invited. Andrew was never 
tired of hearing ' the wanderer ' talk about Italy, 
its delightful landscapes, the mildness of its climate, 
its fruits, monuments, pictures, concerts, theatres, 
beautiful women, and of the war between the pope 
and the Duke of Urbino. A desire to cross the Alps 
took possession of Andrew. ' As soon as there is 
any rumour at Geneva of a foreign war,' he said, 
' some of my companions hasten to it : why should I 
not do the same ? ' The Duke of Urbino, proud of the 
secret support of France, was at that time a cause of 
great alarm to Leo X. An open war against a pope 
tempted Navis. The vices from which he suffered 
were not those base errors which nullify a man; 
but those ardent faults, those energetic movements 
which leave some hope of conversion. Leaning on 
his father's desk, disgusted with the pettifogging 
business, he felt the need of a more active life. An 
opportunity presented itself. A woman named 
Georgia, with whom he had formerly held guilty 
intercourse, having to go to Turin, to join a man who 
was not her husband, asked Andrew to be her escort, 
promising him 'a merry time of it.' Navis made up his 
mind, and without his father's knowledge left Geneva 

* Galiffe, MaUriaiix, &o. Blancliet's Exam. ii. p. 197, &c. 


and his friends, and reached Turin at noon of Satur- 
day the 8th of May. One Gabriel Gervais, a Genevan, 
was waiting for him : ' Be on your guard,' he said ; 
' Blanchet has been taken up for some misunderstand- 
ings with the bishop.' The son of the procurator- 
fiscal thought he had nothing to fear. But on the 
morrow, about six o'clock in the evening, the same 
Gabriel Gervais came and told him hastily : ' They 
are going to arrest you : make your escape.' Andrew 
started off directly, but was caught as he was about 
to leave the city and taken to the castle.* 

The bishop and the duke wished, by arresting these 
young Genevans, to punish their independent spirit, and 
above all to extort from them confessions of a nature 
to procure the condemnation of Berthelier and other 
patriots. On the 26th of April the Bishop of Geneva 
had issued his warrant to all the ducal officers, and, 
in his quality of peaceful churchman, had concluded 
with these words : ' We protest we have no desire, so 
far as in us Hes, that any penalty of blood or death 
should result, or any mutilation of limbs, or other 
thing that may give rise to any irregularity.' f We 
shall see with what care the bishop avoided muti- 
lation of limbs. The duke issued his warrant the 
same day. 

Blanchet's examination began on the 3rd of May 
in the court of the castle of Turin. He believed 
himself accused of an attempt upon the life of the 
bishop, and doubted not that torture and perhaps a 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. pp. 169, 171, 177, 179. Savyon, Annales. 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 320. Eoaet and Gautier MSS. 

f 'Exquapossit contraM irregularitas,' — GaliflFe, Materiaux, &c. ii. 
p. 166. 


cruel death were reserved for him ; accordingly this 
young man, of amiable but weak disposition, became a 
prey to the blackest melancholy. On the 5th of May, 
having been brought back to the court of the castle, 
he turned to the lieutenant De Bresse, who assisted 
the procurator-fiscal, and without waiting to be inter- 
rogated, he said : ' I am innocent of the crime of 
which I am accused.' — -'And of what are you accused?' 
said the lieutenant. Blanchet made no answer, but burst 
into tears. The procurator-fiscal then commenced 
the examination, and Blanchet began to cry again. 
On being skUfuUy questioned, he allowed himself to 
be surprised, and made several depositions against 
Berthelier and the other patriots ; then perceiving his 
folly, he stopped short and exclaimed with many 
groans : ' I shall never dare return to Geneva ! my 
comrades would kill me. . . I implore the mercy of 
my lord duke.' Poor Blanchet moved even his 
judges to pity. Navis, when led before the same 
tribunal on the 10th of May, did not weep. 'Who 
are you ? ' they asked. ' I am from Geneva,' he 
replied, ' scrivener, notary, a gentleman's son, and 
twenty-eight years old.' The examination was not 
long. The bishop, who was then at Pignerol, de- 
sired to have the prisoners in his own hand, as he 
had once held Pecolat ; they were accordingly removed 

On the 14th, 15th, and 21st of May, Navis and Blan- 
chet were brought into the great haU of the castle before 
the magnificent John of Lucerne, collateral of the coun- 
cil, and Messire d'Ancina. ' Speak as we desii*e you,' 

* Galiffe, Matirimx, &c. ii. pp. 95, 168, 190, 190, 202. 


said the collateral, ' and then you will be in his High- 
ness's good graces.' As they did not utter a word, 
they were at first threatened with two turns of the 
cord, and that not being sufficient, they were put to 
the rack ; they were fastened to the rope, and raised 
an arm's length from the floor. Navis was in agony; 
but instead of inculpating Berthelier, he accused 
himself. The commandment which says : ' Honour 
thy father and thy mother,' was continually in his 
mind, and he felt that it was in consequence of 
breaking it, that he had fallen into dissipation and 
disgrace. ' Alas ! ' said he, when put to the question, 
' I have been a vagabond, disobedient to my father, 
roaming here and there, squandering my own and 
my father's money in taverns. . . Alas ! I have 
not been dutiful to my parents. . . If I had been 
obedient, I should not have sufi'ered as I do to-day.' 
On the 10th of June, says the report, he was again put 
to the torture and pulled up the height of an ell. After 
remaining there a moment, Navis begged to be let 
down, promising to tell everything. Then sitting on 
a bench, he accused himself bitterly of the crime of 
which he felt himself guilty ; he confessed ... to 
having- disobeyed his parents* Peter Navis was a 
passionate judge in the opinion of many; Andrew 
saw only the father in him ; and contempt of paternal 
authority was the great sin that agonised the wretched 
young man. Looking into himself, foreseeing the 
fatal issue of the trial, he did not give way, like 
Blanchet, to the fear of death, but bewailed his 

* GalifFe, MaUriatcx, &c. Interrog. ii. pp. 1G2, 168, 179, 180, 185, 
186, 205. 


faults. Family recollections were aroused in Ms 
heart, the most sacred of bonds recovered their 
strength, and the image of his father followed him 
night and day. 

The bishop had got thus far in his prosecutions when 
he learnt that Bonivard had just passed through Turin 
on his way to Rome. Delighted at seeing the prior of 
St. Victor faU into his net, the prelate gave orders to 
seize him on his return. Was it not Bonivard who had 
caused him such alanoa in the palace on the occasion 
of the metropolitan summons ? Was it not this man 
who had robbed him of P6colat, and who even aspired 
to sit some day on his episcopal throne ? . . . It is the 
nature of certain animals to carry their prey into their 
dens to devour it. The bastard of Savoy had already 
dragged Navis and Blanchet into his dungeons, and 
was preparing to mutilate their limbs ; but it would 
be much better still if he could catch and rend the 
hated Bonivard with his claws.* 

The latter so little suspected the impending danger, 
that he had come into Italy to solicit the prelate's in- 
heritance. It was evident that the sickly bastard had 
not long to live. ' I will go to Rome,' said Bonivard 
to his friends, ' to obtain the bishop's benefices by 
means of a cardination ' (an intrigue of cardinals ).f 
He desired eagerly to be bishop and prince of Geneva ; 
had he succeeded, his liberal Catholicism would per- 
haps have sufiiced for the citizens, and prevented the 
Reformation. Bonivard reached Rome without any 
obstacle six years after Luther, and like the reformer 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. .320. 

t ' Cardinationifl.' — GaliiFe, Maleriaux, &c. ii. p. 184. 


was at once struck by the corruption which prevailed 
there. ' The Church,' he said, ' is so full of bad 
humours, that it has become dropsical.' * It was in 
the pontificate of Leo X. ; all that priests, monks, 
bishops, and cardinals thought about was being pre- 
sent at farces and comedies, and of going masked to 
courtesans' houses, f Bonivard saw all this with his 
own eyes, and has left us some stories into which he 
has admitted expressions we must soften, and details 
we must suppress. ' Having business one day with 
the concubinary of the pope's cubicular (we leave these 
unusual expressions, the meaning of which is not very 
edifying), I had to go and find liim at a courtesan's. . . 
She wore smart feathers, waving over a fine gold 
coif, and a sUk dress with slashed sleeves ; you would 
have taken her for a princess. 'J Another day, while 
walkmg in the city, he met one of these ' misses,' dis- 
guised as a man, and riding on a Spanish jennet; on 
the crupper behind her was a janin wrapped in a 
Spanish cape, which he drew carefully over his nose 
so that he might not be recognised. ' Who is he ? ' 
asked Bonivard. ' It is Cardinal So-and-so with his 
favourite,' was the reply. ' We say in my country,' 
he rejoined, 'that all the madmen are not at Rome; 
and yet I see you have them in abundance. '§ 

The prior of St. Victor did not lose sight of the 
object of his journey, and canvassed unceasingly ; but 
began to despair of success. ' Do you wish to know,' 
he was asked, ' what you must do to obtain a request 
from the pope and cardinals? TeU them that you 

* Advis et Devis de la Source de VIdolatrie Papale, published by M. 
Eevillod, p. 134. 
+ Ibid. p. 78. \ Ibid. p. 79. § Ibid. p. 80. 


will kill any man whom they have a grudge against ; 
or that you are ready to serve them, in their pleasures, 
to bring them la donna^ to gamble, play the ruffian, 
and rake with them — in short, that you are a libertine.' 
Bonivard was not strict ; yet he was surprised that 
things had come to such a pass in the capital of Catho- 
licism. His mind, eager to learn, asked what were 
the causes of this decline. . . He ascribed it to the dis- 
appearance of christian individualism from the Church, 
so that a personal conversion, a new creature, was re- 
quired no longer. ' That in the first place,' he said, 
' because when princes became christians, their whole 
people was baptised with them. Discipline has been 
since then Hke a spider's web which catches the small 
flies, but cannot hold the large ones. And next it 
comes from the example of the popes. . . I have 
lived to see three pontiflfs. First, Alexander VI., 
a sharp fellow* a ne'er-do-well, an Italianised 
Spaniard, — and what was worst of all, — at Rome! 
a man without conscience, without God, who 
cared for nothing, provided he accomplished his 
desires. Xext came Julius II., proud, choleric, 
studying his bottle more than his breviary; mad 
about his popedom, and having no thought but 
how he could subdue not only the earth, but heaven 
and hell.f Last apjjeared Leo X., the present pope, 
learned in Greek and Latin, but especially a good 
musician, a great glutton, a deep drinker ; possessing 
beautiful pages whom the Italians style ragazzi; 
always surrounded by musicians, buffoons, play-actors, 
and other jesters; accordingly when he was informed 

* Advis ct Dcvis, p. 34. f Ibid. p. 42. 


of any new business, he would say: Di grazia, 
lasciatemi godere quests papate in pace ; Domine mio 
me la ha date. Andate da Monsignor di Medici.* . . . 
Everything is for sale at the court : red hats, mitres, 
judgeships, croziers, abbeys, provostries, canonries. 
. . . Above all do not trust to Leo the Tenth's word ; 
for he maintains that since he dispenses others from 
their oaths, he can surely dispense himself. 'f 

Bonivard, astonished at the horrible state into 
Avhich popes and cardinals, priests and monks, had 
sunk the Church, asked whence could salvation 
come. . . It was not six months since Prierias, master 
of the sacred palace, had published a book entitled: 
Dialogue against the Presumptuous Propositions of 
Martin Luther.^ ' Leo X. and his predecessors,' said 
Bonivard, 'have always taken the Germans for beasts : 
pecora campi., they were called, and rightly too, for 
these simple Saxons allowed themselves to be saddled 
and ridden like asses. The popes threatened them 
with cudgeUing (excommunication), enticed them 
with thistles (indulgences), and so made them trot 
to the miU to bring away the meal for them. But , 
having one day loaded the ass too heavily, Leo made 
him jib, so that the flour was spilt and the white 
bread lost. That ass (he added) is called Martin, like 
all asses, and his surname is Luther, which signifies 

They found at Rome that Bonivard had not the 

• 'Pray let me enjoy the papacy in peace. The Lord has given it rae. 
Go to my Lord of Medici.' 

f Advis et Devis, pp. 67-74. 

t ' Dialogus in prsesomptuosas M. Lutheri conclusiones de potestate 
papse.' Decemher 1517. 

§ Advis et Devis, p. 80. 
VOL. I. M 


complaisance necessary for a Roman bishop ; and the 
prior, seeing that he had no chance of success, shook 
the dust off his feet against the metropolis of Catho- 
licism, and departed for Turin. His journey had 
not, however, been useless : he had learnt a lesson 
which he never forgot, and which he told all his life 
through to any one that would listen to him. When 
he reached Turin, he went to visit his old friends 
of the university, but they cried out with alarm: 
' Navis and Blanchet are within a hair's-breadth of 
death, and it has been decided to arrest you. Fly with- 
out losing a moment.' Bonivard remained. Ought he 
to leave in the talons of the vulture those two young 
men with whom he had so often laughed at the noisy 
banquets of ' the children of Geneva ? ' He resolved 
to do what he could to interest his friends in their 
fate. For a whole week he went from house to 
house, and walked through the streets without any 
disguise. Nothing seemed easier than to lay hands 
on him, and the ducal police would have attempted it, 
but he was never alone. The scholars, charmed with 
his spirit and independence, accompanied him every- 
where, and these thoughtless headstrong youths would 
have defended him at the cost of their blood. Boni- 
vard, wishing to employ every means, wrote by some 
secret channel to Blanchet and Navis; the gaoler 
intercepted the letter, and took it to the bishop, 
who, fancying he saw in it a conspiracy hatching 
against him, even in Turin, pressed the condemnation 
of the prisoners, and ordered Bonivard to be seized 
inunediately. Informed of what awaited him, the 
intelligent prior displayed great tranquillity. ' I shall 
stay a month longer at Turin,' he told everybody, 


' to enjoy myself with my old friends.' Many 
inyitations being given him, he accepted them all; 
but the next day, before it was light, he took horse 
and galloped off for Geneva.* 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 320, 321. Qaliffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. 
p. 184. Mem. d'Archeol. iv. pp. 152, 153. 




(OciOBBE 1518.) 

THE bastard was staggered when lie was informed 
that Bonivard had escaped. He consoled him- 
self, however, with the thought that he had at hand 
the means of gratifying his tastes and his revenge, 
and concentrated all his attention on Navis and 
Blanchet. What should he do with these two young 
men who had so thoughtlessly fallen into his net? 
How, in striking them, could he . best strike the 
independent men of Geneva? For he was not think- 
ing merely of getting rid of these two adventurers, 
but of filling all the city with terror by means of 
their death. To no purpose was he reminded that 
the father of one of the prisoners was the most 
zealous of his officers ; the bastard cared little for 
a father's grief, and thought that Peter Navis would 
serve him stUl better, when he had given him a 
striking example of the manner in which he desired 
to be served. He pressed the court to hasten on 
the trial. Ancina, judge in criminal matters ; 
Caracci, seignior of Farges, and attorney-general of 
Savoy; and Licia, his deputy, constituted by ducal 
letters judges of Navis and Blanchet, declared 


them solemnly convicted, first, of having been 
present at the meeting at the Molard, and of having 
promised, they and their accomplices, to be ' unani- 
mous against the bishop's officers, to rescue out of 
their hands any of their number whom these epi- 
scopal agents might take into custody ; second, of 
having proposed, in case the duke should take part 
against them, to flee and place themselves under 
a foreign government (Switzerland), abandoning 
thus the sovereignty of Savoy and the splendour of 
the white cross.' The two prisoners were condemned 
to be beheaded, and then quartered; according to 
the bishop's desire. They prepared for execution 

Navis breathed not a murmur; the feeling of his 
disobedience to his father closed his lips ; it appears 
also that Blanchet recovered from his terror, dried 
his tears, and acknowledged his folly. Nothing 
indicates that the repentance of these two Genevan 
youths was truly christian ; but it would be unjust 
to overlook their noble confession at the hour of 
death. The provost and his men, having received 
them from the hands of the magistrates, led them 
to the place of execution. Their appearance was 
becoming, and their look serious; they walked be- 
tween their guards, calm, but without weakness or 
alarm. When they had mounted the scaffold, Navis 
spoke : ' Wishing before all things to make amends 
for the evil we have done, we retract all that we 
have said touching certain of our countrymen, and 
declare that such avowals were extorted from us 

* Qaliffe, Materiaux, Sec. ii. pp. 189-195. 


by the fear of torture. After proclaiming the in- 
nocence of others, we acknowledge ourselves guilty. 
Yes, we have lived in such a way that we justly 
deserve death, and we pray God, in this our last 
hour, to pardon our sins. Yet understand, that 
these sins are not those of which we are accused ; 
we have done nothing contrary to the franchises 
and laws of Geneva: of that we are clean. . . 
The sins which condemn us are our debaucheries.' 
Navis would have continued, but the provost, vexed 
at what he had said already, ordered the execu- 
tioner to do his duty. The man set to work in- 
stantly: the two young men knelt down, he raised 
his sword, and ' thus they were beheaded, and then 

At last the bishop saw his desires satisfied; he 
had in his possession the heads and the quarters 
of two of the ' children of Geneva.' This little man, 
so frail, livid, hideous, reduced almost to a shadow, 
without genius and without will, had nevertheless the 
will and the genius of evil. Notwithstanding his 
protest against the mutilation of limbs, he decided that 
three of the quarters of the two bodies should be 
exposed over the gates of Turin, and reserved for 
his own share a quarter of Navis and of Blanchet, 
with the two heads. He had the flesh pickled, for 
he intended to keep them as long as possible ; and 
when this savage operation, worthy of the Mohawks, 
was completed, he placed the heads and limbs in 
two barrels on which were marked the arms of the 
count, the duke's brother. The bishop wished to 

* Savyon, Annales, p. 72. Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. pp. 26 145. 
Spon, Hist, de Geneve, i. pp. 293, 294. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 323. 


show his flock a sample of his cleverness ; and as 
the execution did not take place at Geneva, he in- 
tended at least to send the limbs of the victims ' to 
stir up and terrify the scoundrels.' The bearers 
of these two pickle-tubs started from Turin, crossed 
Mont Cenis, arrived in the basin of the Leman on 
Saturday, October 2, 1518, and lodged on 'the other 
side of the Arve.' * 

On the bank of this river, which then separated 
the ducal states from those of Geneva, at the foot 
of the bridge on the Savoy side, stood a fine 
walnut-tree, whose leafy branches spread opposite 
the church of Our Lady of Grace on the Genevan 
side. The bishop's agents, who had received or- 
ders to make an exhibition of the mutilated limbs 
for the benefit of the Genevans, proceeded to the 
bridge on Saturday night in order to discharge 
their disgraceful commission under cover of the 
darkness. They carried with them, in addition to 
their casks fiUed with flesh, brine, and blood, a lad- 
der, a hanmaer, some nails and cord. On reaching 
the tree, they opened the barrels and found the fea- 
tures well preserved and easily recognisable. The 
bastard's agents climbed the tree, and naUed the 
heads and arms to the branches in such a manner 
as to be seen by aU the passers-by. They fixed 
a placard underneath, bearing these words : ' These 
are the traitors of Geneva ; ' and the white cross 
of Savoy above. They then withdrew, leaving the 
empty casks at the foot of the tree. ' It was done 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. (Instructions pour les r^ponses a faire a 
Soleuie), ii. p. 135. Savyon, Annates, p. 72. Eegiaters of the Coimcil of 
Geneva, Oct. 3, 1518. Spon, Hist, de Genive, Eoset and Gautier MSS. 


by order of your bishop,' said the duke in a letter 
written three days later (October 5) to his very 
dear, beloved, and trusty citizens of Geneva, 'your 
bishop, whom we have in this supported and favoured, 
which ought to be to your contentment.' * 

The day broke, the people arose, opened their 
windows, and went out of their houses ; some were 
going to the city. One man was about to cross 
the bridge, when, fancying he saw something strange, 
he drew near, and discovered with astonishment 
human limbs hanging from the tree. He shuddered, 
supposing that this had been done by some mur- 
derers in mere bravado; and, wishing to make the 
extraordinary occurrence known, he quickened his 
steps. ' The first who saw this mystery did not 
keep it secret, but ran and told the news all through 
the city. " What's the matter?" people asked . , . 
and then everybody hurried thither,' adds the chro- 
nicler. In truth, an immense crowd of citizens — 
men, women, and children — soon gathered round 
the tree. It was Sunday, a day which the bastard 
had probably selected for this edifying sight; every 
one was free from his ordinary occupations, and 
during all that holy day an agitated multitude 
pressed continually around the tree where the blood- 
stained remains of the two victims were hanging. 
They looked closely at them and examined the 
features : ' It is Navis,' they said ; 'it is Blan- 
chet.' . . . 'Ah! ' exclaimed a huguenot, 'it is not 
difficult to penetrate the mystery. It is one of my 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. p. 151. Registers of the Council of 
Geneva, Oct. 3, 1518. Savyon, AnnaUs, p. 72. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. 
p. 325. Koaet and Gaulier MSS. 


lord bishop's messages come to us by the Turin 
post ! ' Boriivard, who had returned to Geneva, 
thought himself fortunate that the swiftness of his 
horse had carried him beyond the prelate's reach, 
and rejoiced that his head was not between those 
of Blanchet and Navis ; but he was at the same 
time filled with indignation and anger against 
the monster who had so treated his two young 
friends. The Genevan youth indulged in bitter 
irony. ' A fine maypole they have raised us this 
morning on the city boundary ! ' they said ; ' they 
have put up a flag already ; it only wants a few 
ribands and flowers to make the show complete ! ' 
But the sight of these bloody fragments, swinging 
in the air, was no fit subject for jesting; there was 
great mourning in the city ; groans and weeping 
were heard in the crowd ; women gave vent to 
their horror, and men to their indignation. 

Navis's father, a man detested by the Genevans, 
was not the last to be informed ; some people ran 
to tell him of the tragic event that was stirring 
up the whole city. ' Come,' said they, ' come and 
see the reward the bishop sends you for your faith- 
ful services. You are well paid ; the tyrants recom- 
pense you right royally for the disfavour you have 
won from all of us ; they have sent from Turin, 
as your pay, the head of your son.' . . . Peter 
Navis might be an unjust judge, but he was a 
father: at first he was overwhelmed. Andrew had 
been disobedient, but the ingratitude of the child 
had not been able to extinguish the love of the 
parent. The unhappy man, divided between affec- 
tion for his son and respect for his prince, shed tears 


and endeavoured to hide them. Prostrated by gi-ief 
and shame, pale and trembling, he bent his head in 
suUen silence. It was not the same with the mother, 
who gave way to the most violent affection and most 
extravagant despair. The grief of Navis's parents, 
which was expressed in such different ways, struck 
aU the spectators. Bonivard, who at this tragic mo- 
ment mingled in the agitated groups of the citizens, 
was heart-stricken by all he saw and heard, and on 
returning to his priory exclaimed : ' What horror and 
indignation such a spectacle excites ! even strangers, 
whom it does not affect, are disgusted at it. . . 
What will the poor citizens do now ? the poor rela- 
tions and friends ? their father and mother ? ' . . . 

The Genevans did not confine themselves to useless 
lamentations ; they did not turn their eyes to the 
blow they had just received, they looked to the hand 
that struck it ; it was the hand of their bishop. 
Everybody knew the failings of Navis and Blanchet, 
but at this moment no one spoke of them ; they could 
only see two young and unhappy martjrrs of liberty. 
The anger of the people rose impetuously, and poured 
itself out on the prelate more . than on the duke. 
'The bishop,' they said, 'is a wolf under a shep- 
herd's cloak. Would you know how he feeds his 
lambs, go to the bridge of Arve!' Their leaders 
thought the same: they said, it was not enough for 
the prince-bishop to plunge families and a whole city 
into mourning, but his imagination coldly calculated 
the means of increasing their sorrow. These sus- 
pended heads and arms were a notable instance of 
that cruel faculty of invention which has always dis- 
tinguished tyrants- To torture in Piedmont the 


bodies of their young friends did not satisfy the prelate, 
but he must torture all hearts in Geneva. What 
is the spirit that animates him? What are the se- 
cret motives of these horrible executions? . . . De- 
spotism, self-interest, fanaticism, hatred, revenge, cru- 
elty, ambition, folly, madness. . . It was indeed 
all these together. Think not that he will stop in 
the midst of his success : these are only the first- 
fruits of his tenderness. To draw up proscription 
lists, to butcher the friends of liberty, to expose their 
dead bodies, to kill Geneva, — in one word, to take 
pattern by Sylla in everything,* — such will hence- 
forward be the cure of souls of this son of the 

The resistance of the citizens to the encroachments 
of the prelate assumed from that hour a character that 
must necessarily lead to the abolition of the Koman 
episcopacy in Geneva. There is a retributive justice 
from which princes cannot escape, and it is often the 
innocent successors who are hurled from their thrones 
by the crimes of then' guHty predecessors ; of this 
we have seen numerous examples during the past 
half-century. The penalty which has not fallen on 
the individual falls on the family or the institution ; 
but the penalty which strikes the institution is the 
more terrible and instructive. The mangled limbs 
hanging on the banks of the Ai-ve left an indelible 
impression on the minds of the Genevan people. If a 
mameluke and a huguenot happened to pass the bridge 
together, the first, pointing to the walnut-tree, would say 
to the second with a smUe : ' Do you recognise Navis 

* 'Si fut exero^ lors ime cruaut^ presc^ue Sylleme^ says Bonivard, 
Chroniq, ii. p. 324. 


aad Blanchet ?' — the huguenot would coldly reply: ■ I 
recognise mv bishop.' * The institution of a bishop- 
prince, an imitation of that of a bishop-king, became 
every dav more hateful to the Genevans. Its end 
was inevitable — its end at Geneva : hereafter the 
judgments of God will overtake it in othei* places 

The agitation was not confined to the people : the 
svndics had s umm oned the council. " This morning,' 
they said. • before daybreak, two heads and two arms 
were fastened to a tree opposite the church of Oiu* 
Lady of Grace. We know not by whose order.'f 
Everybody guessed whose heads they were and bv 
whose order they had been exposed ; but the explosion 
was not so great in the council as in the crowd. Thev 
must have understood that this cruel act betokened 
sinister designs : they heard the thunder-clap that pre- 
cedes the storm : yet each man drew a different con- 
clusion. Certain canons, monks, and other agents of 
the Eoman Church, accompHces of the tyrant, called 
for absolute submission. Certain nobles thought that 
if thev were fi-eed from the civic coimcils, they 
could display their aristocratic pretensions more at 
their ease. Certain traders, Savoyards by birth, who 
loved better • lai-ee gains in slaverv than small gains 
in libertv,' amused themselves bv thinking that if the 
duke became master of the city, he would reside there 
with his court, and they would get a higher price for 

* MS. Eegisters of the Counca, Oct. 3 and Xot. i!0-. 151?. BoniTard, 
Chroniq. ii. p. 326. Eoset and Gautier MSS.. Lts 3ft7>nneliis (Mame- 
lukes) <fe Gaiive. The latter -MS., as -sreU as manv others collected by 
M. Mallet-EomillT, are now in the possession of Pi-olessor CeUerier, to 
■srhose kindness I am indebted for their perusal. 

t Keristers of the Council, Oct. 3, I-JIS. 


their goods. But the true Genevans joyfully con- 
sented that their countiy should be small and poor, 
provided it were the focus of light and liberty. As 
for the huguenots, the two heads were the signal of 
resistance. ' With an adversary that keeps any mea- 
sure,' they said, ' we may relax a little of our rights ; 
but there are no considerations to be observed with 
an enemy who proceeds by murder. . . Let us throw 
ourselves into the arms of the Swiss.' 

The bishop's ciime thus became one of the stages 
on the road to liberty. No doubt the victims were 
culpable, but the murderers were still more so. AU 
that was noble in Geneva sighed for independence. 
The mameluke magistrates strove in vain to excuse 
an act which injured their cause ; they were answered 
rudely ; contrary opinions were bandied to and fro in 
the councU, and ' there was a great disturbance.' At 
last they resolved to send an ambassador to the princes 
to inquire whether this barbarous act had been per- 
petrated by their orders, and in that case to make 
remonstrances. This resolution was very displeasing 
to the mamelukes, who endeavoured to soften the 
harsh message by intrusting it to pleasing messengers. 
' To obtain what you desu'e from piinces, you must 
send them people who are agreeable to them,' said the 
first syndic. The assembly accordingly named the 
vidame Aymon ConseU, an unblushing agent of Savoy ; 
the ex-syndic Nergaz, a bad man and personal enemy of 
Berthelier ; and Deleamont, governor of Peney, against 
whom the huguenots had more than once drawn the 
sword. The duke, being at that time in his Savoy 
provinces, received the deputation coldly at a public 
audience, but made much of them in private. The 


ambassadors returned in tkree days with an unmean- 
ing answer.* 

The bishop was at Pignerol, where he had presided 
over the terrible butchery. The council were content 
to write to him, considering the distance ; and as he 
was still proud of his exploit, he replied by extolling 
the mildness of his government : ' You have never had 
prince or prelate with such good intentions as myself,' 
he wrote from Turin on the 15th of October; 'the 
execution done the other side the bridge of Arve is to 
give those a lesson who desire to lead evil lives.' Ac- 
cordingly the bastai'd exhorted the Genevans to show 
themselves sensible of his kindness by returmng him 
a double shai'e of love. These executions, far fi-om 
causing him any remorse, gave him a longing for more ; 
he iuvited the Genevans to acknowledge his tender 
favours by granting him the head of Berthelier and a 
few others besides. Making confession to the council 
of his most secret anguish, he expressed a fear that if 
these heads did not fall before his return, it would 
prevent his enjoying the pleasui-es of the table. ' Dis- 
charge your duty,' said he, 'so that when I am with you, 
there may be nothing to do but to make good cheer.'' 
To live merrily and to put his most illustrious 
subjects to death were the two chief points of his 
episcopal cure of souls. To be more sure of obtaining 
these heads, he threatened Geneva with his vengeance : 
' If you should refuse,' said he in conclusion, ' under- 
stand clearly that I shall pray my lord (the duke) 
and his brother (the count) to preserve my good 
rights ; and I have confidence in them, that they will 

* MS. Eegisters of the Council, Oct. 3, 6, aud 22, 1518. Eoset and 
Gautier MSS., Les Maumelus de Geitive. 


not let me be trampled upon; besides this, I will 
risk my life and my goods.' This mild pastoral was 
signed : The Bishop of Geneva.* 

Thus everybody was leaguing against Geneva. 
Would it be crushed? Was there in this small 
republic strength enough to resist the twofold lay 
and clerical opposition, which had crushed so many 
free cities in the dark ages ? There were influences 
at work, as we have seen, in the formation of modem 
liberties, and we find in Geneva the representatives of 
the three great schools in which Europe has learnt 
the principles of government. The characteristic of 
the German liberties was an energetic love of inde- 
pendence; now Berthelier and many of his friends 
were true Germans in this respect. The characteris- 
tic of the Eoman liberties was legality; we find this 
strongly marked in L^vrier and other eminent men. 
The third element of the independence of this people 
was to be that christian principle which, subjecting 
the conscience to God, and thus giving man a firmness 
more than human, makes him tread in the path of 
liberty and walk along precipices without his head 
turning or his feet stumbling. Yet a few years more, 
and a great number of Genevans will find this latter 
element in the Gospel. To this Geneva owes princi- 
pally the maintenance of her existence. 

After the murder of Blanchet and Navis, the passion 
of independence became dominant. ' From that time,' 
said a magistrate of the seventeenth century, ' the duke 
and bishop were looked upon in Geneva as two tyrants 
who sought only the desolation of the city.'f 

* Galiffe, Materiaux, &c. ii. pp. 270-273. 

t Document addressed to Lord Townsend ty M. Chouet, Secretary of 
State. Beme MSS. 




(OcioBEE, TO Deoembeb 1518.) 

THE moment liad come when men of decision were 
about to apply themselves to the work. The 
patriots learnt that the encroaching designs of Savoy 
were irrevocable, and that it wag consequently neces- 
sary to oppose them with an energetic and unbending 
resistance. Berthelier, ' the great despiser of death,' 
smiled coldly at the bishop's threats; magnanimous, 
firm, and resolute, he fancied he saw the happy mo- 
ment approaching when his fondest dream would be 
realised — the giving his life to save Geneva. If he 
wished to escape from the cruelties of the princes 
which threatened him on every side, he must sink 
himself, retire, give up his noblest plans : he shrank 
with hoi-ror from the thought. To resist the con- 
spiracy directed against the hberties of Geneva was 
his duty; if he neglected to discharge it, he would 
degrade himself in his own eyes, he would expose 
himself to remorse; while if he accomplished this 
task, he would feel himself in his proper place; it 
seemed to him that he would become better and more 
acceptable to God. But it was not only imperious, 
invincible duty which impelled him : it was passion, 
the noblest of passions; nothing could calm the tern- 


pests struggling in his bosom. He therefore threw 
himself energetically into the midst of dangers. In 
vain did Bonivard show symptoms of discouragement, 
and say to his generous friend in their meetings at St. 
Victor : ' You see the pensions and threats of the prince 
are induciug many reputed sensible men to draw in 
their horns.' Bonivard could not check Berthelier's 
decision. Caring for nothing, not even for his life, 
provided he saved the liberties of Geneva, the intrepid 
citizen went through the city, visiting from house to 
house, remonstrating with the citizens ' one by one ; ' 
exhorting them in private.* 

His exhortations were not unavailing: a strong 
fermentation began to stir men's minds. They called 
to remembrance how these Swiss, from whom they 
expected deliverance, had conquered then* liberty. 
A hat set up in Altorf on the top of a pole ; an apple 
placed by a cruel order on the head of a child : were, 
according to the old traditions of that people, the signal 
of their independence. Was the bastard less tyrannous 
than Gessler? Those two heads, those two arms, — 
were they not a still more frightful signal? The 
remains of Navis and of Blanchet were long left 
exposed : in vain did the unhappy father, judge Navis, 
address frequent and earnest appeals to the bishop to 
have them removed ; the prelate took delight in this 
demonstration of his power, f It was a strange blind- 
ness on his part. Those dead limbs, those closed 
eyes, those blood-stained lips preached to the citizens 
that it was time to defend their ancient liberties. . . 
The great agitator took advantage of the bastard's 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 328. 
t Council Kegisters, May 3, 1519, 



cruelty, and employing the energetic language of the 
times, he said : ' The same pin hangs on the cloak 
of every one of us. We must resist. Let us unite, 
let us give our hand to the League, and fear notliing, 
for nobody dares touch their allies . . . any more 
than St. Anthony's fire.* . . . Let us help ourselves, 
and God will help us.' 

The young, the poor, all generous hearts listened 
to Berthelier's words ; ' but the great and the rich,' 
says Bonivard, ' were afraid on account of their riches 
which they preferred to their life.'f These great and 
rich folk, Montyon and the ducal faction, seeing the 
dangers that threatened the princes of Savoy in 
Geneva, resolved to send a second embassy with 
orders to go this time even to Turin and Pignerol. 
The same three mamelukes were intrusted with the 
mission. The patriots were indignant : ' What ! ' they 
said, 'you want to save the sheep, and yet select 
wolves to do it ?' — ' Do you not understand,' replied 
Montyon, ' that if you wish to tame princes, you must 
take care not to send men who are disagreeable to 
them ? ' The deputation arrived at Turin, where the 
duke then was. They demanded an audience to pre- 
sent their homage to his Highness, and as their 
sentiments were known, their prayer was easily 
granted. They timidly stated their grievances. ' It 
Avas not I who did it,' said Charles ; ' it was my lord 
of Geneva ; go to the bishop at Pignerol.' The 
deputation proceeded to this town, situated in the 
neighbourhood of the schismatic Waldenses, whom 
the prelate hated as much at least as he did the 

* A contagious cwbuncle. Bonivai'd, Chroniq. ii. p, 327, 
t Ibid. p. 828. 


Genevans. Having obtained an audience, they re- 
peated the lesson they had been taught : ' The city is 
much astonished that you have put two of our citizens 
to death and sent their quarters to the frontiers of 
Geneva. If any private individuals had offended 
against you, say our citizens, you had only to accuse 
them, they would have been punished at Geneva.'* — 
' It was not I who did that,' said the bishop, ' it was 
my lord the duke.' The mameluke deputies were 
strongly inclined to admit one half of the assertion 
of the two princes, and to believe that probably the 
murder came neither from John nor Charles. The 
ofi&cial mission being ended, the prelate, who knew 
well with whom he had to deal, gave directions for 
the ambassadors to be entertained. The latter desired 
nothing better. The bishop ' accordingly entertained 
them,' say the chronicles, 'treated, feasted, and made 
merry with them.' Pleasure parties followed each 
other rapidly, and the three mamelukes, forgetting 
their diplomatic business, found the wines of Italy 
excellent, and the bastard and his court quite capti- 

All good cheer however comes to an end : the poli- 
ticians of the court of Turin wished to profit by the 
embassy, and, although it had been dii'ected against 
the usurpations of the princes of Savoy, to turn it 
skilfully against the liberties of the people of Geneva. 
This was not difiicult, for their representatives were 
betraying them. The three ambassadors, the bishop, 
his officers, and the ducal councillors deliberated 
on the answer to be sent to the council of Geneva. 

* Savyon, Anmtles, p. 74. 

t Ibid. p. 75. Archives rfc Geriive, No. 888, 

N 2 


The princes, trusting in their pensioners, despised the 
liberal party ; but the three envoys, the vidame, Ner- 
gaz, and Deleamont, who had seen the danger closely, 
far from doiag the same, were alarmed at this careless- 
ness. ' There are loyal subjects in Geneva,' they said; 
' but there are also rascals, rebels and plotters who, 
in order to escape the punishment of their misdeeds, 
urge the people to contract an alliance with Friburg. 
The evil is greater than you imagine ; the Helvetic 
republics will establish their accursed popular govern- 
ment in Geneva. You must therefore punish very 
sharply the advisers of such matters, and crush the 
rebels.'* The two cousins desired nothing better. 
Charles had no wish to see liberal principles come 
nearer to Savoy and perhaps to Turin ; but he prefen-ed 
making only a verbal answer to the council. The 
deputies, alarmed at the responsibility thus laid upon 
them, insisted on a written answer, and a letter was 
accordingly di'awn up. In it the duke and the bishop 
informed the council 'that they would hold them loyal 
subjects if they would assist in unhesitatingly putting 
to death Berthelier and ten or twelve others,^ whom they 
named. 'We hand you this letter,' said the duke and 
the bishop to the deputies ; ' but you will not deliver 
it to the syndics and council of Geneva unless they 
promise on their oaths (before reading it) to execute 
without delay the orders it contains.' Never had 
monarch put forward such enormous pretensions. 
God first disorders in mind those whom He intends 
to ruin. The servile ambassadors took care to make 
no objections, and delighted with the success of 
their embassy and particularly with the brilliant 

* Savyon, Aiinales, p. 75. 


f^tes of the court of Turin, they departed with the 
strange instructions which the two princes had given 

While the mamelukes and Savoyai'ds were conspir- 
ing at Turin and Pignerol against the liberties of the 
city, Berthelier and his friends were thinking how to 
preserve them. The iniquity of the duke and the bishop 
showed them more and more every day the necessity of 
independence. They resolved to take a decisive step. 
Berthelier, Bernard, Bonivard, L(5vrier, Vandel, De la 
Mare, Besan9on Hugues, and some others met in con- 
sultation. ' Hitherto,' said Berthelier, ' it is only in 
parlours and closets that we have advised an alliance 
mth the Swiss ; we must now proclaim it on the 
house-tops ; simple conversations are no longer enough : 
it is time to come to a common decision. But alas ! 
where, when, and how? . . . The princes of Savoy have 
accustomed us to assemble only for our pleasures. 
Who ever thinks in our meetings of the safety of the 
city?' Bonivard then began to speak: 'The house 
of M. de Gingins and mine at St. Victor have often 
seen us assembled in small numbers for famihar con- 
versation. We now require larger rooms and more 
numerous meetings. This is my proposition. Let us 
employ to do good the same means as we have hitherto 
used to do evil. Let us take advantage of the meetings 
Avhere until now nothing was thought of but pleasure, 
to deliberate henceforth on the maintenance of our 
liberties.' This proposition met with a favourable 

Since the murder of Blanchet and Navis, it had 

* SjiTyon, Annaks, p. 75. Bonivard, Clironiq. ii. p. 332. Roset and 
Gautier MSS. Spon, Hist, de Geneve, i. pp. 296, 298. 


become more difficult to hold these huguenot meet- 
ings. The threats of Savoy were such that men were 
afraid of everything that might give an excuse for 
violent measures. 'There was in former times at 
Geneva,' observed one of the company, ' a brotherhood 
of St. George which is now degenerated but not 
destroyed ; let us revive it and make use of it; let us 
employ it to save the franchises threatened by the 
Savoy princes.'* 

Berthelier set to work as soon as the meeting broke 
up. When he desired to assemble his friends, he used 
to pass whistling under their windows. He began to 
saunter through the streets with a look of unconcern, 
but with his eyes on the watch, and gave a whistle 
whenever he passed the house of a devoted citizen. 
The huguenots listened, recognised the signal of their 
chief, came out, and went up to him : a meeting was 
appointed for a certain day and hour. 

The day arrived. 'We were about sixty,' said 
Bonivard. It was not a large number, but they 
were all men of spirit and enterprise. It was no 
meeting of conspirators : the worthiest members of the 
republic had assembled, who had no intention to go 
beyond the rights which the constitution gave them. 
In fact Berthelier and Besanjon Hugues proposed 
simply an alliance with the Swiss. ' This thought is 
not a fancy sprung from an empity brain,' they said; 
'the princes of Savoy force us to it. By taking 
away our feirs, by trampling the laws under foot, by 
breaking off our relations with other countries, they 
compel us to unite with the Smss.' When they found 

• Bonivard, Oironiq. ii. pp. ?,2f*, .330. 


Savoy violently breaking the branches of the tree, 
and even trying to uproot it, these patriots were deter- 
mined to graft it on the old and more vigorous stock 
of Helvetic liberty.* 

The rumour of this decision, which they tried how- 
ever to keep secret, reached Turin. Nothing in the 
world could cause more anger and alarm to the bishop 
and the duke. They answered immediately, on the 13th 
of October, by sending an order to bring Berthelier 
to trial in the following month before the episcopal 
commissioners ; this was delivering him to death. 
Councillor Marti of Friburg, a blunt man, but also 
intelligent, warm, devoted and ready, being informed 
of what was going on, hastened to Geneva. The most 
sacred friendship had been formed between him and 
Berthelier when, seated at the same hearth, they had 
conversed together about Geneva and liberty. The 
thought that a violent death might suddenly carry 
off a man so dear, disturbed Marti seriously. He 
proceeded to the h6tel-de-viUe, where the Coun- 
cil of Fifty had met, and showed at once how full 
he was of tenderness for Berthelier, and of anger 
for his enemies. ' Sirs,' he said bluntly, ' this is the 
fifth time I have come here about the same business : 
I beg that it may be the last. Protect Berthelier as 
the liberties of your city require, or beware ! Friburg 
has always desired your good; do not oblige us to 
change our opinion. . . Do not halt between two 
sides: decide for one or the other. The duke and 
the bishop say one thing, and they always do another : 
they think only of destroying your liberties, and 

* Bonivard, Chrcmiq. ii. p. 330. Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. p. xxxii. 
Spon, Mist. i. p. 299. 


Friburg of defending them.' The council, who found 
it more convenient to give the right hand to one 
and the left to another, to keep on good terms with 
Friburg and the bishop, thought this speech a little 
rude. They thanked Marti all the same, but added 
that, before giving a decisive answer, they must wait 
the return of the deputies sent to the bishop and the 
duke. ' Nevertheless,' added the syndics, ' as regards 
Berthelier we will maintain the liberties of the 

The deputies whom they expected from Turin — 
Nergaz, Deleamont, and the vidame — soon arrived. 
When they returned to the free city, they were stiU. 
dazzled by the pomp of the Piedmontese court, and 
filled with the ideas which the partisans of absolute 
power had instilled into them. ' Everything is in the 
prince,' they had said, ' and the people ought to have 
no other will but his.' Thinking only of claiming 
absolute authority for the bishop, they appeared on the 
29th of November before the Council of State, and 
said in an imperative tone : ' We have orders from 
my lord bishop not to discharge our mission until 
you have added to your number twenty of the most 
eminent citizens.' In this way the princes of Savoy 
wished to make sure of a majority. The council 
assented to this demand. ' We require them,' added 
Syndic Nergaz, ' to make oath in our presence that 
they will reveal nothing they may hear.' — 'What 
means all this mystery?' the councillors asked each 
other ; but the oath was taken. The ambassadors 
then advanced another step : ' Here is the letter in 

* Eegistei-s of tte Council, Not. 10 tmd 11, 1518. 

CHAP. siii. THE SE.iiED LETTER. 185 

whicli my lord makes known his sovereign Avill ; but 
before it is opened, you must all swear to execute the 
orders it contains.' This strange demand was received 
in sullen silence ; such open despotism astonished not 
only the friends of hberty but even the mamelukes. 
' liaud us the letter addressed to us, that we may 
read it,' said Besan9on Hugues and other independent 
members of the council.. ' No,' replied Nergaz, ' the 
oath first, and then the letter.' Some partisans of 
Savoy had the impudence to second tliis demand; 
but ' the friends of mdependence ' resisted firmly, and 
the meeting broke up. ' There must be some secret 
in that letter dangerous to the people,' they said. 
It was resolved to convene the general council in 
order that the ambassadors might dehver their mes- 
sage in person. This appeal to the people was very 
disagreeable to the three deputies ; yet they encouraged 
one another to carry out theii' mission to the end.* 

On Sunday, December 5, the sound of a trumpet 
was heard, the great bell of the cathedral toUed, the 
citizens put on their swords, and the large hall of Rive 
was ' quite filled with people.' The deputies were 
desired to ' deliver their message.' — ' Our message is 
found in the letter,' said Nergaz, ' and our only in- 
structions are that before the council of Geneva open 
it, they shall swear to carry out its orders.' These 
words caused an immense agitation among the people. 
' We have so good a leader,' said they with irony, 'that 
we ought to follow him with our eyes shut and not 
fear to fall into the ditch with him! How can we 
doubt that the secret contained in this mysterious 

* Council Eegisters, 'Nor. 29 and Dec. 2, 1518. Savyon, Amiales, 
p. 78. Eoset and Gautier MSS. 


paper is a secret of justice and love? ... If there 
are any sceptics among us, let them go to the walnut- 
tree at the bridge of Arve, where the limbs of our 
friends are stiU hanging.' — ' Gentlemen,' said the 
more serious men, ' we return you the letter unopened, 
and beg you will send it back to those who gave it 
you.' Then Nergaz, feeling annoyed, exclaimed bit- 
terly : ' I warn you that my lord of Savoy has many 
troops in the field, and that if you do not execute 
the orders contained in this letter, no citizen of Geneva 
will be safe in his states. I heard him say so.' The 
people on hearing this were much exasperated. ' In- 
deed ! ' they exclaimed, ' if we do not swear before- 
hand to do a thing without knowing it, all who possess 
lands iu Savoy or who travel there, wiU. be treated 
hke Navis and Blanchet.' . . . Thereupon several 
citizens turned to the three deputies and said : ' Have 
you remained five or six weeks over the mountains, 
feasting, amusing yourselves, exulting, and living 
merrily, in order to bring us such despatches ? To the 
Khone with the traitors ! to the Ehone ! The three 
mamelukes trembled before the anger of the people. 
Were they reaUy to be flung into the river to be 
cleansed from the impurities they had contracted in 
the fetes at Turin ? . . . Ldvrier, Besangon Hugues, 
and other men of condition quieted the citizens, and 
the servile deputies got off with their fright. Calm 
being restored, the councillors returned the prince's 
letter to Nergaz and his colleagues, saying : ' We will 
not open it.' They feared the influence of the 
creatures of Savoy, of whom there were many in the 
Great Council. We give this name to the body 
established in 1457, which consisted at first of only 


fifty persons, and which being frequently increased 
became somewhat later the Council of Two Hundred. 
The people withdrew from this assembly a privilege 
they had given it in 1502, and decreed that the 
general council alone should henceforward decide on 
all that concerned the liberties of Geneva.* 

* Council Eegisters, Deo. 5, 1518. Savyon, Annates, p. 77. Berne 
MSS. V. 12. 




(December 1518 to jAiftrAEY 1519.) 

THE ci'uel butchery of Navis and Blanchet, and 
the insolent sealed letter, were acts ruinous to 
those who had committed them. If the bishop had 
possessed only the spiritual power, he would not have 
been dragged into such measures ; but by wishing 
to unite earthly dominion with religious direction, 
he lost both : a just punishment of those who forget 
the words of Christ : ' My kingdom is not of this 
world.' The bishop had torn the contract that bound 
him to the free citizens of the ancient city. The 
struggle was growing fiercer every day, and would 
infallibly end in the fall of the Roman episcopate in 
Geneva. It was not the Reformation that was to 
overthrow the representative of the pope : it was the 
breath of liberty and legality that was to uproot that 
barren tree, and the reformers were to come after- 
wards to cultivate the soil and scatter abroad the 
seeds of life. Two parties, both strangers to the 
Gospel, stood then face to face. On the one side were 
the bishop, the vicar and procurator-fiscal, the canons, 
priests, monks, and all the agents of the popedom ; on 
the other were the friends of light, the friends of 


liberty, the partisans of law, the representatives of the 
people. The battle was between clerical and secular 
society. These struggles were not new ; but while in 
the middle ages clerical society had always gained the 
victory, at Geneva, on the contrary, in the sixteenth 
century the series of its defeats was to begin. It is 
easy to explain this phenomenon. Ecclesiastical soci- 
ety had long been the most advanced as well as the 
strongest ; but in the sixteenth century secular society 
appeared in all the vigour of youth, and was soon to 
gain the victories of a maturer age. It was aU 
over with the clerical power: the weapons it em- 
ployed at Geneva (the letter and the walnut-tree) 
indicated a thorough decline of human dignity. Out 
of date, fallen into chUdishness, and decrepid, it could 
no longer contend against the lay body. If the duel 
took place on open ground, without secret under- 
standings, without trickery, the dishonoured clerical 
authority must necessarily fall. The Epicurean hog 
(if we may be permitted to use an ancient phrase), at 
once filthy and cruel, who from his episcopal throne 
trampled brutally under foot the holiest rights, was 
imconsciously preparing in Geneva the glorious advent 
of the Reformation. 

The meeting of the 5th of December was no sooner 
dissolved than the citizens dispersed through the town. 
The insolent request of the princes and the refusal of 
the people were the subject of every conversation : 
nothing else was talked of ' in public or in private, at 
feast or funeral.' The letter which demanded on 
behalf of Geneva an alliance with Friburg was not 
sealed like the bishop's ; it was openly displayed in the 
streets, and carried from house to house ; a large number 


of citizens hastened to subscribe their names : there were 
three hundred signatures. It was necessary to carry 
this petition to Friburg; Berthelier, who was stUl 
under trial, could not leave the city ; besides, it would 
be better to have a new man, more calm, perhaps, 
and more diplomatic. They cast their eyes on the 
syndic Besangon Hugues, who in character held a 
certain mean between Berthelier the man of action, 
and L^vrier the man of law. ' No one can be more 
welcome among the confederates than you,' they said; 
' Conrad Hugues, your father, fought at Morat in the 
ranks of Zurich.' — ' I will go,' he replied, ' but as a 
mere citizen.' They wished to give him a colleague 
of a more genial nature, and chose De la Mare. He 
had resided for some time on a property his wife 
possessed in Savoy ; but the gentry of the neighbour- 
hood 'playing him many tricks,' because he was 
a Genevan, he had returned to the city burning with 
hatred against the Savoyard dominion. 

The two deputies met with a warm reception and 
great honour at Friburg. The pensioners of Savoy 
opposed their demand in vain; the three hundred 
Genevans who had signed the petition received the 
freedom of the city, with an offer to make the 
alliance general if the community desired it. On 
Tuesday, December 21, the two deputies returned 
to Geneva, and on the foUoA^dng Thursday the pro- 
posal of alliance was brought before the people in 
general council. It was to be a great day; and ac- 
cordingly the two parties went to the council deter- 
mined, each of them, to make a last effort. The 
partisans of absolutism and those of the civic liberties, 
the citizens attached to Home and those who were 


inclined to throw off their chains, the old times and the 
new, met face to face. At first there were several 
eloquent speeches on both sides : ' We mU. not permit 
law and liberty to be driven out of Geneva,' said the 
citizens, ' in order that arbitrary rule may be set up in 
their place. God himself is the guarantee of our fran- 
chises.' They soon came to warmer language, and 
at last grew so excited that deliberation was impossible. 
The deputy from Friburg, who had returned with 
Hugues and De la Mare, strove in vain to calm their 
minds ; the council was compelled to separate without 
coming to any decision. Switzerland had offered her 
alliance, and Geneva had not accepted it.* 

The friends of independence were uneasy; most 
of them were deficient in information and in argu- 
ments; they supplied the want by the instinct of 
liberty, boldness, and enthusiasm; but these are qua- 
lities that sometimes fail and fade away. Many of 
them accordingly feared that the liberties of Geneva 
would be finally sacrificed to the bishop's good plea- 
sure. The more enlightened thought, on the con- 
trary, that the lights of the citizens would remain 
secure ; that neither privilege, stratagem, nor violence 
would overthrow them ; but that the struggle might 
perhaps be long, and if, according to the proverb, 
Rome was not built in a day, so it could not be 
thrown down in a day. These notable men, whose 
motto was ' Time brings everything,' called upon 
the people to be patient. This was not what the 
ardent Berthelier wanted. He desired to act im- 
mediately, and seeing that the best-informed men 

* Eegisters of tLe Council, Dec. 7, 21, 23, 1518 ; Feb. 6, 1619. Galiffe, 
MaUriaux, &c. ii. p. 217. 


hesitated, he said: 'When the wise will not, we make 
use of fools.' He had again recourse to the young 
Genevans, with whom he had long associated, with a 
view of winning them over to his patriotic plans. He 
was not alone. Another citizen now comes upon the 
scene, a member of one of the most influential families 
in the city, by name Baudichon de la Maison-Neuve, 
a man of noble and exalted character, bold, welcome 
everywhere, braving without measure all the traditions 
of old times, often turbulent, and the person who, 
more perhaps than any other, served to clear in Geneva 
the way by which the Reformation was to enter. 
These two patriots and some of their friends en- 
deavoured to revive in the people the remembrance of 
their ancient rights. At the banquets where the young 
men of Geneva assembled, epigrams were launched 
against the ducal party, civic and Helvetic songs were 
sung, and among others one composed by BertheLier, 
the unpoetical but very patriotic bm-den of which was : 

Vivent sur tous, Messieui's les allies ! 

Every day this chorus was heard with fresh enthu- 
siasm. The wind blew in the direction of indepen- 
dence, and the popular waves continued rising. 
' Most of the city are joining our brotherhood,' said 
Bonivard; 'decidedly the townsfolk are the strongest.' 
The Christmas holidays favoured the exultation of 
the citizens. The most hot-headed of the Genevan 
youths paraded the streets; at night they kindled 
bonfires in the squares (which they called ardre des 
failles), and the boys, making torches of twisted 
straw, ran up and down the city, shouting : ' Hurrah 
for the League ! the huguenots for ever ! ' Armed men 


kept watch throughout the city, and as they passed 
the houses of the mamelukes, they launched their 
gibes at them. ' They were very merry,' said Boni- 
vard, 'and made more noise than was necessary.' 
The two parties became more distract every day, the 
huguenots wearing a cross on their doublets and a 
feather in their caps, like the Swiss ; the mamelukes 
carrying a sprig of holly on their head. ' Whoever 
touches me wiU be pricked,' said they, insolently 
pointing to it. Quarrels were frequent. When a 
band of the friends of Savoy happened to meet a 
number of the friends of the League, the former 
would cry out : ' Huguenots ! ' and the latter would 
reply : ' We hold that title in honour, for it was taken 
by the first Swiss when they bound themselves by an 
oath against the tyranny of their oppressors ! . . . But 
you mamelukes have always been slaves!' — 'Beware,' 
said the vidame, 'your proceedings are seditious.' — 
' The necessity of escaping from slavery makes them 
lawful,' replied Berthelier, Maison-Neuve, and their 
followers. The mountain torrent was rushing im- 
petuously down, and men asked whether the dykes 
raised against it would be able to restrain its 

The party of Savoy resolved to strike a decisive 
blow. No one was more threatened than Berthelier. 
The two princes might perhaps haVe spared the lives 
of the other citizens whose names were contained in the 
letter; but as for Berthelier, they must have his head, 
and that speedily. This was generally known : people 
feared to compromise themselves by saluting him, and 

* BoniTard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 330, 331. Savyon, Annales, p. 79. Roset 
and Gautier MSS. 

VOL. I. O 


timid men turned aside when they saw him coming, 
which made Bonivard, who remained faithful to him, 
exclaim with uneasiness : ' Alas ! he is abandoned by 
almost everybody of condition ! ' But Berthelier did 
not abandon himself. He saw the sword hanging 
over his head ; he knew that the blow was coming, 
and yet he was the most serene and animated of the 
citizens of Geneva ; it was he who ' by word and by 
example always comforted the young men.' He asked 
simply that right should he done. ' I am accused of 
beiag a marplot because I ask for justice; — a good- 
for-nothing, because I defend liberty against the enter- 
prises of usurpers ; — a conspirator against the bishop's 
life, because they conspire against mine.' His 
case was adjourned week after week. His friends, 
touched by the serenity of his generous soul, loudly 
demanded a general council. The people assembled on 
the 19th of January: 'All that I ask,' said Berthelier, 
' is to be brought to trial ; let them punish me if I 
am guUty ; and if I am innocent, let them declare it.' 
The general council ordered the syndics to do justice.* 
They hesitated no longer : they carefully examined 
the indictment ; they summoned the vidame and the 
procurator-fiscal three times to make out their 
charges. The vidame, knowing this to be impos- 
sible, got out of the way: he could not be found. 
Navis appeared alone, but only to declare that he 
would give no evidence. All the formalities having 
been observed, the Grand Council, consisting at that 
time of 117 members, met on the 24th of January, 
1519, and delivered a judgment of acquittal. The 

* Bonivard, Clironiq. ii. p. 344. Savyon, Annates, p. 91. Spon, JSist. 
de Oenive, i. p. .303. 


syndics, bearing their rods of office and followed by 
all the members of the council, took their station (ac- 
cording to the ancient custom) on the platform in front 
of the hotel-de-ville. An immense crowd of citizens 
gathered round; many were clinging to the walls; 
aU fixed their eyes with enthusiasm on the accused 
who stood cahn and firm before his judges. Then 
Montyon, the premier syndic, a mameluke yet a faithful 
observer of the law, said to him : ' Plulibert Berthelier, 
the accusations brought against you proceeding, not 
from probable evidence but from violent and extorted 
confessions, condemned by all law htunan and divine, 
We, the syndics and judges ia the criminal courts of 
this city of Geneva, having God and the Holy Scrip- 
tures before our eyes, — making the sign of the cross 
and speaking in the name of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, — declare you, Philibert, by our definitive 
sentence, to be in no degree attaint or guilty of the 
crime of conspiring against our prince and yours, and 
declare the accusations brought against you unreason- 
able and unjust. Wherefore you ought to be ab- 
solved and acquitted of these, and you are hereby 
absolved and acquitted.' This judgment, delivered 
by a magistrate devoted to the duke and the bishop, 
was a noble homage paid to the justice of the cause 
defended by Berthelier. A solemn feeling, such as 
accompanies a great and just dehverance, pervaded 
the assembly, and the joyful patriots asked if Ber- 
thelier's acquittal was not the pledge of the liberation 
of Geneva.* 

* Galiffe, Materiaux, &c. ii. pp. 137-139, Eegisters of the Council 
for January 11, 19, and 24, 1519. Saryon, Annaka, p. 82. Eoaet and 
Gautier MSS. Archives of Geneva, No. 998. 

o 2 


But if the joy among the huguenots was great, the 
consternation of the mamelukes was greater still. 
This mystery — for such they called the acquittal of 
an innocent man — terrified them. They had fancied 
their affairs in a better position, and all of a sudden 
they appeared desperate. That noble head, which 
they desired to bring low, now rose calm and cheerful 
in the midst of an enthusiastic people. To complete 
their misfortune, it was one of their own party that 
had delivered that abominable verdict of acquittal. 
They sent the news to their friends in Piedmont, 
adding that their affairs had never been in a worse 
position. Berthelier's acquittal created a deep sensa- 
tion at the court of Turin. It was a triumph of law 
and liberty that compromised all the plans of Savoy. 
By seizing Berthelier, they had hoped to extinguish 
that fire of independence and liberty, which they 
could discern afar on the Genevan hills; and now 
the fire which they hoped had been stifled, was 
shooting out a brighter and a higher flame. . . The 
Archbishop of Turin, who had sworn to destroy aU 
republican independence, represented to his sove- 
reign the true meaning of the sentence that had just 
been delivered. The feeble duke, who knew not 
how to carry out his enterprises and feared spending 
money more than losing his dominions, had remained 
until this moment in a state of foolish confidence. He 
now awoke : he saw that the alliance with Switzerland 
would deprive him of Geneva for ever, and considered 
Berthelier's acquittal as an outrage upon his honour. 
He determined to break the alliance, to quash the 
judgment, and to employ, if necessary, all the force 


of Savoy. He began, however, mtli diplomatic 

On the 30th of January his ambassadors, the presi- 
dent of Landes, the seignior of Balayson, Bernard of 
St. Germain, and the skilful and energetic Saleneuve, 
arrived in Geneva, and, having been introduced to the 
general council, made at first loud protestations of 
friendship. But soon changing their tone and wish- 
ing to terrify by their threats, they said : ' Xever- 
theless his Highness learns that some of you are 
conspiring against him.' At these words there was 
a great commotion in the assembly: 'Who are the 
conspirators? name them,' was the cry from every 
side. The seignior of Landes, who had let the word 
escape him, corrected himself, and assured them that 
the duke was delighted to hear that the people had 
refused to favour those who were opposed to him. 
But the ambassador changed his tone to no purpose 
— the Genevan susceptibility was roused: that un- 
lucky word conspire spread through the city. ' To 
conspire against the duke he must first be our prince,' 
said some. ' Now, whatever he may say, he is only 
vidame^ that is, a civil officer, and as such subordinate 
to the supreme council. We will make no reply to 
the ambassadors of Savoy so long as they do not 
name the conspirators.' The Savoyards increased 
their attentions, and showed the tenderest regard for 
the purses of the Genevans. ' We are quite alarmed,' 
they said, 'at the quantity of gold florins you wiU 
have to pay Fribui'g for its alliance.' They care- 

* BoniTard, Chroniq. ii. p. 332. M. Mignet's Mhnoire, p. 24. 


fully hid themselves under sheep's clothing; but do 
what they would, the wolfs fangs peeped out un- 
expectedly now and then ; and while the chiefs were 
enshrouding themselves in diplomacy, sharp disputes 
occurred between the citizens and the ambassadors' 
attendants. ' All the Genevans are traitors ! ' ex- 
claimed a servant belonging to the treasuiy of 
Chamb^ry. The varlet was reprimanded, but the 
ambassadors thought it prudent to leave the city. 
They were exasperated, and on their return to Turin 
told the duke : ' You wiU gain nothing by reasoning 
with these citizens. If you say you are their prince, 
they will maintain that you are their vassal.' — 'Well, 
then,' said the duke, ' let us settle the matter not with 
the pen but with the sword.' That was just what the 
energetic Saleneuve desired.* 

* MS. Registers of Geneva, Jan. 30 and 31, 1519. Bonivard, Chroniq. 
ii. p. 333. Sayyon, Annales, p. 82. 




(Febktjaey and Mabch 1519.) 

THE Genevans knew wliat sort of report would be 
made of them at Turin; they therefore resolved 
to forestall the duke and to conclude as soon as pos- 
sible an alliance with the Swiss, which would permit 
them vigorously to repel the Savoyards. Nothing 
could be more lawful. Liberty was of old date in 
Geneva : the despotism of the princes was an innova- 
tion. The people having met according to custom on 
Sunday, February 6, 1519, to elect the four syndics for 
the year, Besan9on Hugues came forward. At first 
he seemed to be speaking in personal explanation, 
but one only thought fiUed his heart — he wished to 
see Geneva united to Switzerland. To propose this 
openly would endanger his life, and perhaps give an 
advantage to the enemy; he therefore proceeded 
artfully to work. ' Sovereign lords,' said he, ' the 
ambassadors of Savoy spoke of conspirators ; I 
think they meant me, and had my journey to 
Fribm'g in their mind. Now, I declare that I have 
done nothing contrary to the duty of a citizen. . . 
Besides,' added he, as if parenthetically, ' if you desire 
to know all about it, you will find it explained at 


length in a letter from the council of Friburg.' — ' The 
letter, read the letter,' they cried out. This was just 
what Hugues wanted : Friburg would thus make the 
proposal which he dared not bring forward himself. 
The letter was read before all the assembly. ' When 
it shall please the entire community of Geneva to join 
in friendship and citizenship with the people of Fri- 
burg,' said the writer, ' the latter will agree cheerfully, 
without prejudice either to the rights of the bishop 
and prince of Geneva, or to the liberties and franchises 
of the city, and neither of the parties shall pay tribute 
to the other.' * 

When they heard this loyal and generous letter, 
the people were enraptured. The Swiss themselves 
were stretching out their hands to them. The joy 
was universal ; there was a cry for the offer of these 
noble confederates to be put to the vote. Montyon, 
the mameluke syndic, was alarmed; he was taken 
unawares; that immense affair against which the 
bishop and Savoy were uniting their forces was about 
to be carried as if by storm. Even the patriotic 
Vandel was intimidated, and proposed that they 
should proceed immediately to the election of the 
syndics conformably to the order of the day. It was 
too late. Since the 22nd of December, Berthelier 
and his friends had displayed unwearied activity : in 
six weeks the huguenot party had made immense 
progress. Desire, hope, and joy animated the citizens. 
Another feeling, however, was mingled with this en- 
thusiasm, and it was indignation. The ambassadors 
of Savoy had insinuated, it will be remembered, that 

* Council Registers, Feb. 6, 1519. 


Geneva would have to pay tribute to Friburg. 
'Where are those famous gold florins, with which 
they frightened us?' said the citizens. ' The duke 
who is only a civil officer among us, in his desire 
to become prince, condescends to vile falsehoods in 
order that he may succeed ! ' . . . From every quar- 
ter rose the cry: 'A poU, a poll! citizenship with 
Friburg ! A poll, a poll ! ' As the two first syndics 
obstinately refused, Hugues remembered that there are 
moments when audacity alone can save a people. He 
laid aside his habitual scruples, and acting solely on 
his own responsibility, he proposed the alliance. ' Yes, 
yes,' replied the majority of the assembly with up- 
lifted hands. A few mamelukes, surprised, discon- 
certed, and disheartened, remained silent and still.* 

Thus, at the very moment when the court of Turin 
was expressing its discontent at the acquittal of Ber- 
thelier, the people replied by a resolution which 
threatened stiU more the ambitious designs of Savoy. 
The citizens of Geneva opened their gates to the 
Swiss. By turning their backs on the south, they 
forsook despotism and popery; by turning towards 
the north, they invited liberty and truth. 

The nomination of the syndics, which came next, 
seemed to confirm this solemn vote : it was the most 
huguenot election ever known. Three of the new 
syndics were devoted partisans of independence, 
namely, Stephen de la Mare, a connection of the 
Gingins, who had accompanied Hugues to Friburg; 
John Baud, Hugues' brother-in-law ; and Louis 
Plongeon, seignior of BeUerive. Guiges Provost, the 

* Bonivard, Chrcmiq. ii. p. 333. Eegisters of the Council, Feb. 6, 


premier syndic, had indeed very close relations with the 
ducal party,but he was aman of good intentions. Many 
old councillors had to make way for devoted patriots. 
Geneva was beginning to soar : it desired to be free. 
Ambassadors set off immediately to announce to 
Friburg that the people had voted the alliance.* 

Then burst forth one of those great transports that 
come over a whole nation, when after many struggles 
it catches a glimpse of liberty. In all the city there 
were bonfires, cheei*ing, songs, processions, and ban- 
quets. But here and there, in the midst of this great 
joy, there were gloomy faces to be seen ; the mame- 
lukes strove in vain to keep down their anger; it 
broke out suddenly in insults and riots. The reaction 
was indeed prompt : in the presence of the simple joy 
of the people, the duke's friends drew closer together, 
and their party was organised. The house of Savoy 
had still many adherents iu Geneva, capable of op- 
posing the desire for independence and truth. There 
were old Savoyard families devoted to the duke ; per- 
sons who were sold to him; young men of birth, 
enthusiasts of absolute power ; priests and laymen 
enamoured of Rome; traders averse to a war that 
would injure their business ; weak men, trembling at 
the least commotion, and many low people without oc- 
cupation, who are easily excited to riot. The party felt 
the necessity of calculating their strength and coming 
to some understanding ; but it was not its most pro- 
minent leaders who placed themselves in the front. 
Francis Gartelier, a native of Bresse, and syndic in 1516, 

* See the letter from the coiincil in the Eegisters, Feb. 6, 1519, and 
in the fragments of Grenus, p. 109. 


a lettered, prudent, and cunning but mean man, con- 
vened its principal members in a room at the convent 
of Rive, which was called 'the little stove.' Thither 
came in succession, besides Montyon and Nergaz, whom 
we know already, other mamelukes young and ftdl of 
zeal : Messieurs de Brandis, who were at the head of 
Genevan society; the two De Fernex, who derived 
their name from a lordship which became famous in 
after years ; Marin de Versonex, whose family was 
distinguished by its good works, a young man of 
limited understanding but ardent imagination, of a 
disposition easily led away, and passionately devoted 
to the Church of Rome, which alone he thought able 
to save him ; by his side was his cousin Percival de 
Pesmes, united to him by a sincere friendship, and 
whose ancestors had been among the crusading barons 
who followed St. Louis ; lastly, many other noble mame- 
lukes, determined to oppose even to death the triumph 
of the party of liberty and Switzerland. These old 
magistrates and these young nobles found themselves 
out of their element in Geneva. Sincere for the most 
part in their convictions, they believed they saw in 
the new day that was rising over the world, a day 
of tempest which destroying what existed would put 
nothing in its place. What must be done to avert 
so dire a misfortune? They resolved to inform the 
duke of the alliance which had just been voted, and 
urge him to make every exertion to prevent its being 
carried out»* 

AH these efforts were to prove useless. Liberty 
was beginning to raise her head in one of the smallest 

* Galiffe, MtUMaux, Sec. ii. pp. 246, 262, 264 


but most ancient cities of the Empire and the Church. 
It is a strange thing that the city bearing on its 
flag the symbols of these two absolute powers — the 
key of the popes and the eagle of the emperors — 
raised this very significant banner, and thus pro- 
claimed, as if in a spirit of contradiction, liberty 
in Church and State. While other nations (if we 
except the Swiss League) were sleeping under the 
feudal sceptre of their masters, this little republic in 
the centre of Europe was awaking. Like a dead man 
lying in a vast cemetery, it began to stir and alone 
came forth triumphant from its tomb. In all the 
neighbouring countries, in Switzerland, Savoy, France, 
and places more remote, people talked of the strange 
movements taking place at Geneva, and of the daring 
resistance opposed by a few energetic citizens to a 
prince who was brother-in-law to Charles V. and 
uncle to Francis I. Men of the old times grew 
alarmed. True, it was but a cloud, small as a man's 
hand, but it might grow into a fierce tempest in which 
the two ancient buttresses of feudal and Roman 
society — absolute power in spiritual and in temporal 
matters — might be shattered. What would happen 
then ? Might not this emancipatory movement extend 
through Europe? At Geneva men talked of political 
liberty ; at Wittemberg of religious reform : if these 
two streams should chance to unite, they would make 
a formidable torrent which would throw down the 
edifice of the dark ages and sweep away its ruins into 
the great abyss. 'People spoke everywhere,' Boni- 
vard tells us, ' of huguenots and mamelukes, as they 
once did of Guelfs and Ghibelines.' The prior of St. 
Victor, to whom these things were reported, reflected 


on them and said in his musings : ' Geneva is be- 
ginning to be a member in the body of Christendom 
of which strange things are said.' In examining 
them, however, he thought there was room for abate- 
ment both of hopes and fears ; — Tame, as VirgU sings, 
is a goddess who makes things greater than they are.' * 
These things were greater than Bonivard thought. 
Geneva, by setting out in search of liberty, was to 
find the Gospel. 

The duke, the count, and the bishop, informed suc- 
cessively by their ambassadors, the vidame, and lastly 
by the mamelukes of ' the httle stove,' ' drank of these 
bitter waters' and asked themselves if they were going 
to lose that city from which the house of Savoy had 
derived such great profit for centuries. They began 
to understand the imprudence of their rough policj^ ; 
they began to regret the arrests and the murders; 
they would have hked that ' the work was to be done 
over again.' That seemed difficult ; yet after many con- 
ferences, the three princes agreed upon certain plans, 
one or other of which they thought must succeed. 

First : They sought to break the alliance by means 
of their pensioners at Friburg. The latter wishing to 
earn their money began to intrigue, to declaim, and to 
discuss. But the Friburgers, devoted to the cause of 
Geneva and liberty, resisted them, and the people, dis- 
covering the intrigues of the pensioners, rose against 
them. There were great disturbances in the streets, and 
blows were exchanged. ' What ! does even Friburg 
take side with the new ideas ? ' people said at the court 
of Turin. It was not because they were new, but 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 344, 


because they were old, that Friburg adopted them. The 
pensioners of Savoy were obliged to strike their sails, 
and they wrote to the duke : ' All who do not dance to 
the tune the people play, incur the risk of a beating.* 
. . . Win your Highness pray excuse us ? ' 

This attempt having failed, the court of Turin 
passed to another, and endeavoured to win over the 
leaders of the opposition in Geneva. ' They open 
their mouths very wide,' said the Savoyards ; ' stuff 
them with gold.' Much skUl was required to carry 
out this new manoeuvi'e. The Bishop of Maurienne, 
precentor of the cathedral of Geneva, a supple, 
able, insinuating man, and tolerably esteemed by the 
friends of liberty, was selected by the duke for this 
deUcate mission. The prince declared to him with 
the strongest oaths (in order that it might be repeated) 
that he had nothing to do with the deaths of Navis 
and Blanchet. ' It was done by my lord of Geneva 
alone without my knowledge,' said he. ' Ah, I should 
be very glad it had never happened, let it cost me ever 
so much. Repeat all I say to Berthelier. Offer him. 
gold and silver ; in a word, do anything to attach him 
to my service.' Maurienne arrived in Geneva. No- 
body doubted at that time that every man had his 
price. ' His Highness,' said the bishop to Berthelier, 
' is aware that the crimes of which you are accused 
are the inventions of your enemies.' Then came pro- 
mises of gold and silver. ' Only,' added Maurienne, 
' let Geneva renounce her alliance with the Swiss.' 
Berthelier, who awaited with unflinching heart the 
hour when he would pour out his hfe for the inde- 

* ' S'exposect a recevoir de la pantoufle. ' — Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 335. 


pendence of Geneva, smiled disdainfully at these 
words; then he shuddered, and putting aside the 
gilded yet poisoned cup which Maurienne presented 
to him, he answered coldly: 'A vile interest will 
never make us render up an innocent people to the 
vengeance of your prince.' Maurienne, rejected by 
Bertheher, ' frequented every place of meeting,' says 
a manuscript, 'in order to prevail upon the chief 
supporters of the alliance to give it up ; but he only 
lost his pains.' All whom he tried to seduce wished 
to be free and to join hands with Switzerland.* 

The duke, seeing that he was labouring in vain, 
made one more heroic effort. ' Well, then,' he said, 
' let us raise all Switzerland.' The energetic Saleneuve, 
the able Chappuis, and the diplomatic Lambert were 
sent as ambassadors from Savoy to the deputies of the 
cantons then sitting in diet, and complained bitterly 
of Geneva. Would that little city weigh as much in 
the balance as the powerful house whose states en- 
closed the two sides of the Alps ? ' Friburg,' said pre- 
sident Lambert, ' treats with enclaves, without the 
consent of the most serene prince in whose states they 
are placed.' This new name given to the Genevans 
amused Bonivard greatly. ' Oh, oh ! ' he said ; ' no 
longer daring to call us his subjects, for the word is 
used up, the duke styles us his enclaves ! ' This time 
Charles III. and his government had taken the right 
course. The cantons, offended that Friburg had acted 
alone in this matter, desiring to humour the duke, 
and not being acquainted with the facts, promised 
to exhort 'certain headstrong and rebellious Genevans 

* Council Registers, March 1, 1519. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 3S6. 
Berne MSS. v. 12. Gautier MS. 


to desist from their enterprise.' * This little republic, 
at the moment of her awakening, found ranged against 
her both the neighbouring princes and a large ma- 
jority of the cantons. The diet declared in favour 
of the duke, and sent the Sieur d'Erlach to Geneva to 
support the ducal protest. What could little Geneva 
do, when pressed at once by Savoy and Switzerland? 
It was as if two ships in full sail should come up in 
opposite directions, threatening to crush a frail boat 
that floated between them. But the poor little bark 
carried a ballast which was its salvation, namely, 
liberty and the protection of God. Such vessels, even 
if they are run down, come to the surface again sooner 
or later. The Friburgers did not desert the cause of 
independence, but sent John Fabri to Geneva on their 
behalf. The two deputies met almost about the same 
time on the shores of the Leman, one bringing peace, 
the other war. 

The general council having met on the 1st of 
March, 1519, the generous Fabri, faithful to a des- 
perate cause, spoke first, and did not conceal from the 
assembly the large majority that had declared against 
Geneva. ' Consider the matter and see for yourselves 
what ought to be done,' he said. ' As for us, we will 
preserve the affiance to the last drop of our blood.' 
These words electrified the audience. ' And we too !' 
they shouted aU aroimd. The citizens were stfrred : 
they shook hands, they blessed Friburg and embraced 
Fabri: everybody swore to be true to the alliance. 
The Friburgers quitted the hall touched with the 

* ' ExhortamuT obatinatos et rebelles, pacis corriiptores, ab incepto 
ut desistaat.' — Aa'ohives of Geneva, No. 912. 


noble sight of a nation ready to brave the greatest 
dangers in the maintenance of its rights. 

The deputy from the League was admitted next. 
Cold and diplomatic, a stiff patrician and inflexible 
magistrate, D'Erlach spoke with an imperious voice: 
' Obey the duke,' he said. ' Be henceforward his faithful 
subjects ; break off your alliance with Fribm'g. The 
League require it fi'om you under pain of their deep 
resentment ; and as for Fribm'g, they command it.' 
This short and rough speech amazed the Genevans, 
How long had they been the subjects of Savoy? . . . 
Had the Swiss League broken their own yoke only to 
impose it on others? Had they lighted the torch of 
liberty on their own mountains only to extinguish it 
elsewhere? . . . What! shall the representatives of 
the ancient liberties draw up in battle array against 
the new liberty? The proudest of the Genevans, 
with heads upraised, said haughtily that even the 
Swiss could not make them bend. Yet all the citi- 
zens were not so brave. Could Geneva be saved if 
Switzerland forsook her ? Many became uneasy, 
some were grieved : the mamelukes alone rejoiced 
and triumphed. The place of assembly reechoed with 
weeping, groans, and curses. The confusion con- 
tmued to increase. 

When the deputy from Berne had withdrawn, the 
deputy from Friburg, animated with the most heroic 
sentiments, returned to reassure the people ; and not- 
withstanding the declarations of the Bernese com- 
missioner he affirmed stoutly that Berne would not 
abandon Geneva. ' Fear nothing,' he said ; ' my lords of 
Berne and Friburg are brothers ; they wiU not quarrel 
with each other for the love of Savoy. And though 

VOL. I. P 


Berne should forsake you, we are strong enough 
with God's help, and we will not permit either you 
or ourselves to be trampled on. . . Declare frankly 
whether you desire the alliance: say Yes or No.' 
Then with a loud shout the people exclaimed : ' Yes ! 
yes ! Better see our wives and children slain, better 
die a thousand deaths ourselves, than cancel the 
alliance with Friburg ! ' The general council desir- 
ing to give an energetic proof of its will, and to make 
the resolution irrevocable, decreed that if any should 
propose the rupture of the alliance, he should be forth- 
with beheaded. The sjmdics returned to the inn where 
D'Erlach coldly awaited their answer. It was as be- 
coming and proud as D'Erlach's speech had been 
imperious. ' We will send a deputation to the next 
diet,' they said, ' when we will prove that we are not 
the duke's subjects, and that we have done nothing to 
his prejudice.' * 

The greatness of a people does not depend upon the 
extent of its territory. There was a soul in this little 
nation, and in that soul dwelt lofty aspirations. Had 
all the powers of the earth risen against Berthelier, 
Levrier, and Hugues, these energetic men would not 
have quailed. At the meeting of the general council 
on the following day (March 2, 1519) the alliance was 
confirmed; Hugues and Malbuisson started immedi- 
ately for Friburg with instructions to sign the engage- 
ment, which the Helvetic diet had just ordered to be 
cancelled . Such was the answer made by Geneva to 
the Swiss. The faithful devotedness of Friburg should 
be for ever inscribed as an example in the records of 

* Eegisters of the Council ad diem. Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 338. 


history. But it is not to the Swiss in general, as is 
commonly believed, that the Genevans substantially 
owe their independence, but to God and to the strong 
will that God gave them.* 

* Registers of the Council ad diem. Bonivard, Chroniq, ii. p. 338. 
Spon, Sist. de Geneve, i. p. 314. Berne MSS. v. p. 12. Eoset and 

Gautier MSS. 





(Maech 1519.) 

THE duke tesitated no longer. Pacific and di- 
plomatic means were exhausted; he must now 
draw the sword and with its trenchant edge hew 
down the pride of Geneva. Nevertheless, to save 
appearances, he desired that some influential body 
would declare against the alliance ; for it would 
then seem as if he were supporting a Genevese party, 
and his intervention with an armed force would look 
less odious. To attain his end he turned his eyes 
on the chapter of St. Pierre, the bishop's natural 
council, and in his absence representing the catholic 
church. Its members being all noble or graduates in 
law (which at that time amounted almost to nobility), 
this body might be considered as the house of lords 
in the Genevan constitution.* The duke instructed 
his agents to work upon the canons, and they might 
have been seen going from door to door in the street 
that still bears their name. They advised the canons 
to be on their guard ; that this alliance with the Swiss 
compromised everything, and particidarly their func- 

* Galiffe, MaUriatix pour PHistoire de Genive. 


tions and benefices. They were conjured to write to 
my lords of the League, stating that the chapter did 
not assent to the alliance in question. The canons, flat- 
tered by the importance which his Highness of Savoy 
attached to their opinion, hastily put on scapulary 
and amice and assembled in chapter. The success of 
this ducal manoeuvre could not be doubtful. Only 
one canon was a native of Geneva; and this was 
Michael Navis, brother of him whom the bishop had 
murdered — a man as servile as his brother was in- 
dependent. Two only were liberals: De Gingins, 
abbot of Bonmont, and Bonivard, prior of St. "Victor, 
who was the youngest of the chapter, and who had 
no vote because he was not in holy orders. All the 
other canons were devoted to the duke — all worthy 
gentlemen, much impressed with their own dignity, 
like those canons of St. John of Lyons who, having 
produced their quarterings of nobility, demanded 
the privilege of not kneeling at the elevation of the 
host. The chapter opened their deliberations; and 
' the stout master-courtiers who had the right to speak 
first began to say amen.'' Bonivard, who saw these 
fat canons one after another bending low their bloated 
faces, grew alarmed at the turn matters were taking. 
What would be the consequence if the Church said 
No, while the people said Yes? What disorders at 
home, what weakness abroad ! He saw that the op- 
position in the chapter fell to his share; he performed 
his duty valiantly and paid dearly for it. He had 
not been asked for his vote, and the secretary was 
preparing to commit the resolution to writing, when 
the prior rose and said : ' Stop a little, Mr. Secretary, 
although I am not in sacris (in orders) and have no 


vote in the chapter, I have a duty here. Now it 
seems to me that before granting the illustrious duke 
his request, you should consider the purport of it a 
little better.* It tends to break off that alliance with 
Friburg which the people of this city have so much 
at heart that they would lose their wives and children 
sooner than renounce it. Think of what you are 
doing. . . Very reverend sirs, you cannot return an 
answer to the duke without that answer being known 
to our people with whom you have promised to live 
and die. What will they say of you? With your 
permission I wiU tell you. They will say that you 
are plapng the scorpion's trick — that you pretend 
to be friends in front, and behind you inflict a mortal 
wound with your tail, . . Fear their anger. Eest 
assured that if they say nothing at the moment, they 
wiU bear you in mind another day.' The ' stout mas- 
ters,' who were far from brave, began to feel uneasy 
and to turn in their stalls. They were in an awkward 
dilemma. ' There is one way of satisfying both 
parties,' continued Bonivard ; ' that is, reply to my 
lord of Savoy, and to the people also, that your 
business does not extend to alliances and other like 
civU matters, but to spiritual things only; that it 
does not concern you to make or unmake treaties; 
and that your function is only to pray to God and to 
pray principally for peace among aU men. If you do 
this, no one will have reason to be dissatisfied with 

Thus did Bonivard at the beginning of the six- 
teenth century lay down a categorical distinction 

* ' Vous devriez un peu mieux en maclier la tenenr.' (BoniTard has 
preserved Us speech, Chrotiig. ii. pp. 839, 340.) 


between the spiritual and the temporal government, 
and maintain that the Church and the State had 
each its own sphere. The canons thought this 
theory very strange, and stranger stUl that a young 
man of twenty-five should presume to teach it 

. The Bishop of Maurienne, who fancied himself a 
great diplomatist, was seriously oflfended. ' Do you 
think, M. de St. Victor,' he said, 'that we do not 
know how to write a letter?' . . . The Savoyard canons 
were exasperated that one of their countrymen should 
desire anything but what the duke wished. ' The 
house of Savoy,' said M. de Monthoux, ' has conferred 
many favours on your predecessors, and is it thus 
you show your gratitude?' ... 'I would wiUingly 
render service to the duke,' answered Bonivard, ' but 
before aU I will observe my oath to Geneva and the 
Church.' At these words, which resembled a reproach, 
murmurs arose from aU quarters. Bonivard was not 
intimidated. Upright in heart, noble in intention, 
wise in counsel, of extraordinary intelligence and su- 
perior talent, he was far above the ailger of his vene- 
rable colleagues. ' Very weU, then, gentlemen,' said 
he, ' do as you please, but I protest that I do not 
agree.' Then turning to the clerk, he said : ' Write 
down that, Mr. Secretary,' and left the chapter. The 
canons were too ftdl of the sense of their own im- 
portance to heed the protest. Persuaded that it was 
their duty to check a political movement, which 
might besides lead to a religious revolution, these 
churchmen, desirous of displaying a courage similar to 
that of the Roman senators, peremptorily drew up 
their declaration against the Swiss alliance, without 


regard to the resistance of the people which Bonivard 
had predicted. 

At the dawn of the canonical institution, when the 
scattered priests of a church were assembled by the 
bishop into one body, these priests or canons led at 
first a life so regular and so strict that the people were 
enraptured with them. But that did not last long, and 
the lives of these ecclesiastics too often became so dis- 
orderly that the laity turned away from them with 
disgust and hatred. It had been so at Geneva. The 
decision of the canons was soon known in the city, 
and the people immediately assembled in great num- 
bers in the Place Molard. They described the scene in 
the chapter, of which Bonivard may perhaps have given 
some hints ; and complained that lazy priests should 
dare to declare their opinions on public matters and 
take side with the enemies of Geneva. They said that 
churchmen were always wanting to meddle with 
politics, and striving, by flattering authority, to 
gratify their avarice and increase their power. It 
was proposed to pay these reverend men a visit, and 
request them to mind their own affairs and leave state 
matters alone. In fact, the patriots were stirring, 
and ready, says Bonivard, ' to proceed in great rage 
to assault the canons.' Aim4 de Gingins, abbot of 
Bonmont and episcopal vicar, who lived with his col- 
leagues in the street still known as the Rue des Cha- 
noines,* sent in aU haste for his friend the prior of 
St. Victor, that he might stop the people. Would he 
consent? As the canons had rejected his advice, 
might he not leave them to get out as they could from 

* In the house aftei-wards occupied by Calvin, where the Maison 

Naville now stands. 


the evil strait into whicli they had fallen ? Bonivard ia 
truth hated despotism, and was one of the most honestly 
liberal men of the sixteenth century. 'Monarchi- 
cal princes are always enemies of the liberty of the 
people,' he said, ' and the servants whom they keep 
are the same, because they can live in greater licence 
under king than under law. This nearly caused the 
ruin of Rome, when the young men conspired to re- 
store the kings, as Livy bears witness in his second 

But if Bonivard was opposed to the despotism of 
princes, he was equally so to the disorders of the 
people. Accordingly he did not hesitate, but hurried 
to the episcopal vicar's. De Gingins, who was waiting 
for the return of his messenger in the keenest anxiety, 
flew to meet the prior, exclaiming : ' Ah, St. Victor, 
if you do not give orders, some disaster will happen 
to the canons. Our folks have done a foolish thing, 
and the people have heard of it : see if you can quiet 
them.' f 

Bonivard hastily lighted a torch (for it was night) 
and ran to meet the people. He found them at the top 
of the Perron, a steep street, which opens between the 
cathedral and the Rue des Chanoines. Berthelier and 
the ex-syndic Hugues 'were ia front,' he teUs us. The 
former of the two, seeing his friend Bonivard at the 
top of the street, with a furred amice upon his head, 
holding a torch in one hand, and with the other making 
eager signs for them to stop, exclaimed with an oath : 
'Ah! you BoucJie-Coppons^ you make a fair show in 
front with treachery behind.' — ' Bouche-Coppon (or 

* Bonivaid, Chroniq. ii. p. 343. t IMd. p. 342. 


hooded friar) was a name they gave us,' says the 
prior, ' because we carried the amice on our heads 
in winter.' * 

The moment was critical: the trembling canons 
expected to see the people fall upon them; some of 
their servants, peering anxiously down the Perron, 
from the top of the street watched the movements 
of the crowd, and of a sudden shrank back with 
terror on hearing the shouts of the advancing hu- 
guenots. In fact the people were exasperated and 
demanded that the priests should be brought to 
account for meddling with politics. Bonivard did 
not flinch : ' Gently, good sirs,' he said to the citi- 
zens, 'do not be vexed at trifles; there is not so 
much harm done as you think.' Then ascribing to 
the canons his own ideas, he continued : ' These 
reverend gentlemen have written, that they wUl not 
live under other protection than that of God and 
St. Peter, and that as for the alliance with Friburg, 
they do not mean either to accept or refuse it. . • The 
letter is not sent yet . . . you shaU see it ! ' Upon this 
Besan§on Hugues motioned the people to halt, and 
the crowd obeyed a magistrate so respected. On his 
side Bonivard hastily despatched a messenger to the 
Bishop of Maurienne, the most intelligent of the canons, 
instructing him to ' change promptly the purport of the 
letter.' Maurienne privately sent for the secretaiy 
and dictated to him a new despatch such as Bonivard 
required. Berthelier, Hugues, and P&olat, deputed 
by the people, arrived shortly after, conducted by 

* The amice was a furred hood with which the canons sometimes 
covered theii head, hut generally carried on the arm. Bonivard, Chronig. 
ii. p. 342. 

ciLip. XVI. EONIVARd's opinion of COUBTS. 219 

Bonivard, when Maurienne showed them the new 
document. They suspected the trick. ' Oh no ! the ink 
is still quite wet,' they said. However, as the contents 
satisfied them, they would not examine the letter too 
narrowly, and the people, unwiUiag to make a disturb- 
ance to no purpose, were satisfied also. ' Let the busi- 
ness be settled this once,' they said ; ' but let us keep a 
kick in store for the other courtiers.' They meant, 
no doubt, that having given a smart lesson to the 
canons, they reserved the honour of giving another 
to the mamelukes. ' 1 have inserted this,' says 
Bonivard, concluding his account of this incident, ' to 
caution aU republics never to give credit or autho- 
rity to people bred in the courts of princes.' * 

* Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. pp. 339-343. Gautier, Hid. MSS. 



ihe duke at the heat of his aemt sueeounds geneta. 
(March mtd Apeh. 1519.) 

THE duke was at the end of his resources, and the 
affair of the chapter had raised his indignation to 
its utmost. There had been comedy enough — it was 
time now to come to the tragedy. Everything must 
be prepared to crush Geneva and liberty. 

The duke raised an army ' this side the mountains 
(that is, ia Savoy) as secretly as he could.' Then fear- 
ing lest the Friburgers, if they were warned, should 
hasten to the support of the city, and wishing ' to catch 
the fish without wetting his paws,' he sent M. de Lam- 
bert into Switzerland to amuse the cantons with fine 
speeches. While the ambassador was thus occupying 
the attention of Messieurs de Friburg, the Savoyard 
nobles hastily summoned their vassals to arms. The 
duke placed his forces under the command of the 
Sieur de Montrotier, Bonivard's cousin and an ex- 
cellent captain. The latter marched off his troops 
during the night and assembled them in silence roimd 
Geneva ; so that the duke reached St. Jullien, a league 
from the city, with seven thousand soldiers, before 
anything was known of his enterprise. The Savoyards 
had never done so well before. In a short time the 


people of the neighbourhood, hurrying in crowds to 
his standard, raised the ducal army to ten thousand 

Then the duke no longer concealed his intentions. 
He kept his court at St. Jullien, and there gathered 
round the prince an ever-increasing number of nobles 
in rich dresses and splendid armour; and especially 
of young gentlemen brimful of insolence, who longed 
to make a campaign against the noisy shopkeepers, 
Never before had this little town witnessed so much 
display, or heard so many boasts. 'We must put them 
down with our ridiug-whips,' said some. No sooner said 
than done. On the 15th of March, 1519, fifteen of these 
cavaliers started fi'om St. JuUien to carry out their 
plan of campaign ; they arrived in Geneva, proceeded 
straight to the h6tel-de-ville, leaving their horses 
with their servants in the street, and with a swagger- 
ing air entered the council-room, all booted and 
splashed with mud. Not waiting to be oflFered chairs, 
they rudely sat down, and without any preface said : 
' My lord, desiring to enter this city, orders you to lay 
down your arms and to open the gates.' The Genevan 
senators, seated in their curule chairs, looked with 
astonishment at this singular embassy; they re- 
strained themselves, however, and replied at once firmly 
and moderately that the duke would be welcome at 
Geneva provided he came with his ordinary retinue, 
and only to enjoy himself as he had often done before. 
' In that case,' added the syndics, ' the arms we carry 
will be used only to guard him.' This seemed to imply 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 343, 346. Savyon, Annaks, p. 82. Spon, 
Met. de Genive, i. p. 311. Gautier MSS. 


that another use might be made of them ; and accord- 
ingly the gentlemen answered haughtily : ' My lord 
will enter your city with whom he pleases and do 
in it as he pleases.' — ' Then,' answered the syndics 
bluntly, ' we wUl not let him' enter.' At these words 
the fifteen cavaliers rose up like one man : ' We wUl 
enter in spite of your teeth,' they said, ' and we wiU 
do in your city whatever we please.' Then striding 
noisUy across the flagstones with their spurred boots, 
they left the hall, remounted their horses, and galloped 
off along the St. Jullien road.* 

As they were seen riding hastily along, fear came 
over the population. In truth the moment was 
critical. Geneva was from that time for more than 
a century under arms, and on repeated occasions, 
especially at the epoch of the famous escalade in 1602, 
repelled the attacks of Savoy. But the Reform gave 
it a strength afterwards which it did not now possess. 
The Swiss diet ordered them to receive the duke; 
there were only from ten to twelve thousand souls in 
the city, including women and children; and the prince 
of Piedmont, duke of Savoy, was at their gates with 
ten thousand soldiers. They fancied that Charles was 
going to enter, to burn and massacre everything : many 
families fled in alarm with the most valuable of their 
property. But their flight was useless, for the armed 
men of Savoy occupied the roads, so that the ftigitives 
came upon them everywhere. Some returned to the 
city : ' All the country of Savoy is in arms,' said they ; 
' and many of our people have been taken and put to 
the torture.' It was then three o'clock in the after- 

* Boniyard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 348, 349. 


noon.* The patriots assembled: Berthelier, Hugues, 
Bonivard, and many others met in order to come to 
some understanding. They resolved that it was ex- 
pedient to send an embassy to Friburg to inform their 
allies of this incident, and to ask for a garrison, as the 
duke would not dare to fire a gun at the walls guarded 
by the League. But whom should they send ? Many 
reasons, — the question of expense being one, — re- 
strained the citizens, for they were poor. Bonivard 
grew warm : ' You have exasperated the wolf; he is 
at your gates ready to devour you,' he said, ' and you 
prefer to let him eat up your milk, your butter, and 
your cheese — what am I saying ? you would sooner 
let him eat yourselves up than give a share of your 
pittance to the mastiff that would guard you.' There 
was one man in the meeting who never calculated 
when the object was to save his country : this was 
Besan^on Hugues. He was ill, he had already in- 
curred debt in the cause of Geneva; but that mattered 
not ! ' I will go,' said he, and he departed.f 

During this time the fifteen gentlemen had returned 
to St. Jullien and made a report of their visit to 
the council. Charles and his advisers did not con- 
sider their proceedings very diplomatic, and resolved 
to act more officially but more insolently. The next 
day, Friday, April 1, the king-at-arms, Provena de 
Chablais (he derived this name from the province 
where he was bom) arrived in Geneva, and was in- 
troduced to the council with the usual ceremony. 
A cuirass covered him down to the waist ; on his left 
arm he wore his casaque or coat of arnis, and his 

* Eegisters of the Council, April 2, 1519. 

t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 347. Galiffe, Notices GMcdogiques, i, p. 4, 


right hand held a rod, — a gaule^ says a manuscript. 
He entered with head erect, without uncovering or 
making any bow to the coimcil. ' Sit down by my 
side,' politely said the premier syndic to him, ' and un- 
fold your message.' Chablais remained standing, with 
sneering lip and silent, although the invitation was 
repeated thrice. This mute embassy considerably 
astonished the Genevan senate. At last, the Mng-at- 
arms quitted his fixed posture and took a seat of his 
own accord, not by the side of, but above the syndics 
who remained impassive. Then he said : ' Worshipful 
syndics and councillors, do not marvel if I did not sit 
down when you desired me, and if I sit down now 
without being invited ; I wiU teU you the reason. I 
am here in behalf of my most dread prince and lord, 
the Duke of Savoy, my master and yours. It does not 
become you to teU him to sit down — it is his privilege 
to do so when and where he pleases : — not beside you 
but above you, as your sovereign prince ; and as re- 
presenting his person, I have done so myself. Now 
from my seat I unfold my commission, and it is this. 
My lord and yours charges and commands you to 
prepare his lodging in your h6tel-de-ville with the 
sumptuousness and magnificence that belong to such a 
prince. Likewise he orders that you will get ready 
provisions for him and his company, which will be 
ten thousand infantry without including cavalry ; for 
his intention is to lodge here with this retinue to 
administer justice in Geneva.' * 

The king-at-arms was desired to retire, the council 
wishing to deliberate on the answer to be returned. 

* For this speecli see Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 849. MS. MamelmJcs 
de Gonbve. Spon, Rist. de Geneve, i. pp. 314-320. 


The discussion was not a long one, all being unani- 
mous to maintain firmly the liberties of Geneva. 
The herald was called in again, and the first syndic 
said to him : ' Sir Chablais, we are equally surprised 
at what you do and at what you say. At what you 
do ; for after we ofi'ered you a seat, you refused it ; 
and when you had refused it, you took it. . . At 
what you say ; for you say that my lord of Savoy is 
your prince and ours ... a thing unheard of until this 
time. He may be your prince — that we believe; but 
ours ... no ! We are his very humble servants, but 
we are neither his subjects nor his vassals. . . It 
therefore does not belong either to you or to him to 
sit in the place where you are. . . As for what you 
say respecting our h6tel-de-ville, we know not what 
you mean; the duke may choose any lodging he 
pleases except our hotel-de-ville, which we cannot 
spare. He will be treated as in former times — 
better if possible. He desires to administer justice ; 
it is the place of the bishop and council to do so, ac- 
cording to the franchises which he himself has sworn. 
If any one among us has ofl'ended him, let him inform 
us. Lastly, as to the large train with which he de- 
sires to be attended, it is a singular company for the 
administration of justice ! Let him please to come 
with his usual retmue, nay, with five hundred men ; 
but ten thousand men and cavalry besides. . . We 
have not supplies for so many.' * 

Chablais listened coldly and disdaiafuUy. 'Will 
you or will you not obey the orders of my lord? ' he 
said. The first syndic answered bluntly : ' No.' The 
herald then rose, put on his coat of arms, and with a 

* ' Nous n'avons pas mis cuire poitr tant de gens.' — Bonivard; Chroniqiies. 
VOL. I. Q 


loud voice said : ' On his behalf then I pronounce you 
rebellious to your prince — and I declare war against 
you with fire and sword.' Then flinging his rod into 
the middle of the hall, he continued : ' I defy you on 
the part of my lord, in sign of which I throw down 
this rod (gaule); let him take it up who pleases.' 
So saying, he left the hall.* 

The news of this singular challenge was imme- 
diately carried to the people, who were dismayed at 
it. The huguenots, seeing that they must die or he 
slaves (say the annals), chose the first alternative and 
23repared for death, resolving, however, to sell their 
lives and not to throw them away. FeeHng themselves 
the strongest body in the city, they called the people 
together. ' Let every one take up arms ! ' they said. 
They even forced the mamelukes to do so. The 
gates were shut, the chains stretched across the 
streets, the artillery manned, the watch set: 'they 
made all the preparations for war according to the 
skill and experience they had in that business.' f 

The duke, knowing that right was not on his side, 
resolved to draw the sword. Advised by Montrotier, 
a daring officer, he had a fit of courage, and, closing 
all the roads, sent out his troops in every direc- 
tion. It was Saturday, April 2, and market day at 
Geneva. The market was held ' without a word said ; ' 
they allowed everybody to go in and out who wished ; J 
but about noon a report of the duke's manoeuvre hav- 
ing reached the city, the inhabitants took up arms. 
The peasants, returning from market, described to 

* See note, p. 224. 

t Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 350. SaTyon, Annates. 

X Les Mamelouks de Oeriive, MS. 


the Savoyards, witk some exaggeration perhaps, the 
war preparations made by the Genevans. Imme- 
diately the duke's fit of courage was succeeded by one 
of fear. Bonivard had expected this, and on hearing 
that the prince was at the head of an army had 
shrugged his shoulders. ' The duke knows as much 
of war,' he said, ' as a monk bred in a convent since 
he was seven years old.' This display of ten thousand 
men, assembled a league from Geneva, these troops 
sent out in every direction — all ended in a pitiful 
retractation. M. de Lucinge, appearing before the 
council, said : ' His Highness has ordered me to in- 
form you, most honoured lords, that he desires to 
come and sup with you in a friendly way. If he 
cannot lodge in the h&tel-de-ville, be so good as to 
prepare a lodging elsewhere for him, his great suite,* 
and two or three hundred infantry only. . . He de- 
sires to do violence to nobody.' The mamelukes pro- 
posed that the gates should be opened to the duke 
immediately, but the syndics replied that they would 
consult the general council on the morrow. The 
mameluke councillors, who thought that the duke 
did Geneva a great honour by coming to it, looked 
around with astonishment at the answer : their greatest 
happiness was to approach a prince and pay court to 
his Highness, and these inflexible huguenots turned 
their backs upon him. ' Well,' said they, ' if they 
will not let the duke come to us, we will go to him.' 
Accordingly Montyon and several others of his party 
left the council-room. The court-yard of the h6tel- 
de-ville was full of citizens waiting to learn the 

* ' Magnus status,' coui't. Registers of the Council, April 2. 
Q 2 


result of the meeting : they saw the mamelukes pass 
with astonishment. The spectators whispered in each 
other's ears : ' They are going to join the Savoy- 
ai'ds.' . . . Presently a loud shout was raised, and 
several huguenots, catching up some spears that were 
resting against the wall, ran after the mamelukes to 
seize them; they were almost overtaken when the 
councillors, deputed by the syndics, entreated them, 
for the safety of the city, to avoid a strife between 
citizens. The angry patriots returned to the hotel- 
de-"sille. Every one was distressed at knowing that 
there were among them men capable of forsaking 
Geneva for the Duke of Savoy.* 

The disloyalists (as they were caUed) hastened 
along the St. Jullien road. Besides Montyon, there 
were Cartelier, Deleamont, iSTergaz, Ray, the two De 
Fernex, and others, making in all between thirty and 
forty. ' Our interview with the duke must be pri- 
vate,' said the cunning Cartelier, who felt how criminal 
was the step they were taking. The duke let them 
know that at a certain hour of the night he would be 
under a particular tree in the Falcon orchard. Thither 
they resorted one by one, and were all soon gathered 
round the tree without being able to recognise each 
other except by the voice. The intriguing Cartelier 
was spokesman. Political views mfluenced Montyon, 
De Yersonex, and others; but in him, it was the 
hatred he bore against the huguenots and the desire 
to be revenged on them. He assured the duke that 
the majority of the people were ready to acknowledge 
him for their sovereign. ' But,' he added, ' the bad 

* 'Obviaverimt ne irent alicubi.' — Galiffe, Matiriaua- pour VHistoire 
de Omi^ve, Exam, of Dc Joyo, ii. p. 218. 


ones have shut the gates, stretched the chains, 
placed guards. . . Enter Geneva, my lord, sword in 
hand.' They then discussed theu' guilty projects, 
and it was agreed in whispers what the mamelukes 
should do in order to facilitate the entrance of the 
Savoyards into the city. ' The traitors,' says Boni- 
vard, ' entered into a plot with the duke.'* 

Early on Sunday Charles took up a better posi- 
tion and went to his strong castle of Gaillard on the 
Arve, three-quarters of a league from Geneva. The 
report of his intentions having spread through all the 
valley of the Leman, the gentlemen and the companies 
of the Pays de Vaud, Chablais, and Faucigny came 
thronging in. Nay, more : the canons and priests 
of the city, quickly forgetting the lesson they had 
received, hurried off to Gaillard. Bonivard, who was 
almost the only cleric remaining in Geneva, saw all 
his theories confirmed. It was his maxim that ' peo- 
ple bred up in the courts of piinces always remember 
their first food.' — ' And now,' said he, ' of all the 
canons and folks of the long robe, there are left in 
Geneva only De la Biolee, Navis, and myself. All 
are gone to visit the duke at Gaillard, even M. de 
Bonmont who was considered the principal friend 
of the public weal.' f Erelong the castle was fiUed 
with an imposing crowd, more numerous than at 
St. JuUien. 

The storm was approaching, the danger increasing 
from hour to hour: the little band of patriots was 
stiU full of courage; but alas! it was an ant-hUl 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 346. GalifFe, Matiriaux, Exam, of Car., 
teller, ii. pp. 234, 246, 262, 264. 

t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 354. Les ifamelouks do Geneve, MS. 


on which a rock from the Alps was about to fall. 
They had watched the priests with anxious eye, but 
without desiring to stop them. ' These birds have so 
keen a scent,' it was said, ' that they hasten wher- 
ever there is any flesh.' If Fribm'g would only send a 
few valiant warriors to assist those of Geneva, that 
Savoyard army would soon be dispersed ; but Friburg 
remained dumb. The uneasiness spread from one to 
another ; desponding faces were met in the streets. . . 
On a sudden two horsemen are seen on the Swiss 
road. . . joy ! they wear the Friburg colours ! . . . 
At eleven o'clock in the forenoon of Sunday, 
April 3, 1519, Berthelier's friend. Councillor Marti, 
accompanied by a herald, entered Geneva. ' And 
your armed men?' they said to him, and were in- 
formed in answer that, for the present at least, there 
were none. The general councU happening to be 
assembled in order to reply to M. de Lucinge, Marti 
instantly proceeded thither, but was not received so 
well as he had expected. ' We want ambassadors iii 
doublets and not in long robes,' said the huguenots 
to him; 'not diplomatists, but soldiers.' Marti 
started for Gaillard, but the Genevans saw him depart 
without hope ; in their' opinion, arquebuses should be 
the only answer for the Savoyards.* 

The Friburger, as he drew near Gaillard, was 
struck with the large number of troops around the 
castle. At this moment the duke was giving audi- 
ence to the canons, who were making aU the bows 
and compliments learnt in former days at court ; he 
hoped to be able to draw them into the plot, and 

* Savjon, Amiaks, p. 87. Bonivard, Chronlq. ii. p. 351, &c. 


was therefore much annoyed at seeing this mediator 
arrive. Turning impatiently towards his officers, he 
vented in an under tone some contemptuous words 
against him. Nevertheless, a few minutes later, 
when he had examined him more closely, Charles took 
courage, doubting not that his political skill would 
easily manage this shepherd of the Alps. ' He seems 
a good plain man, easy to be deceived,' said the duke, 
who, commencmg his manoeuvres, added : ' Sit down, 
Mr. Ambassador,' and thereupon feasted him hberally, 
and gave him aU kinds of good words. But the 
plain man, who was in reality a bold and crafty 
Friburger, replied in his Romane tongue : ' My lord, 
you have ah'eady told my friends so many lies, that I 
do not know if they will believe you any more.' * The 
duke, offended at this rude language, spoke more 
sharply: 'I shall enter Geneva as a friend,' he said; 
' or, if they do not like it, as an enemy. My artillery 
is all ready to lather (savonner) the city in case of 
refusal.' Marti in alarm demanded a truce, at least 
for the night, so that he might speak to the people of 
Geneva and settle the matter, which the duke granted.f 
All the citizens were afoot : the guards at the gates, 
the cannon on the walls, the watch day and night in 
the streets. At ten o'clock Marti arrived, and went 
straight to the council, whose sittings were declared 
permanent. ' Gentlemen,' said he to the syndics, ' I 
think you must trust the duke and let him enter the 
city.' — ' And the assistance of Friburg? ' asked some • 
to which Marti replied : ' My lords are far away ! ' t 

* ' Monseigneu, vos avi ja diet a Messieurs taat de iangles, que je ne 
say si vo vudront pie crerre.' — ■ Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 351. 
t Ibid. p. 352. \ Ibid. 


He seemed to have lost all hope. He added, how- 
ever : ' There is a truce until to-morrow moniing.' 
It was agreed to convene the Great Council the next 
morning before daybreak in order to deliberate on the 
course to be taken in this terrible crisis ; and as the 
citizens had been on foot for three nights, they were 
permitted in consideration of the truce to go and take 
some repose. It was then eleven o'clock. 

It struck twelve. No sound was heard but the 
measured steps of the sentinels ; a dark night covered 
the city with its curtain, and all were asleep. Sud- 
denly the flash of a torch gleamed from the top of one 
of the three towers of St. Pierre: it was the signal 
agreed upon between Cartelier and the duke at the 
nocturnal conference held under the tree in the 
Fahion orchard : that flash announced that the Swiss 
could enter without resistance. The noise of horses 
was heard almost immediately without the city, in 
the direction of St. Antoiue, and a loud blow .was 
struck on the gate. It was Philip, count of Genevois, 
the duke's brother, at the head of liis cavalry : hav- 
ing knocked, he waited for the mamelukes to open 
according to their promise. But the sentry at the 
St. Antoine gate, who had seen the torch and 
heard the knock, suspecting treachery, fired his arque- 
bus and gave the alarm. Immediately the tocsin 
sounded ; the citizens awoke, grasped their arms, and 
hurried in the direction of the attack. ' All were 
much frightened and vexed, and great uproar was 
made in the city.' Everybody was running about 
shouting and ordering. The count, who was listen- 
ing, began to fear that the plot had failed. In the 
midst of the confusion, a clap of thunder was heard. 


whicli terrified both sides. The count and his fol- 
lowers hesitated no longer, but retired ; the Genevans 
did the same, and a few angry patriots, as they passed 
Marti's house on their way home, went in and asked 
him angrily : ' Is this the fine truce you brought 

The Grand CouncU met before daybreak on Mon- 
day, April 4. The mamelukes made an excuse for 
the night afikir: it was no doubt a patrol of cavalry 
which had advanced too far. But Marti did not con- 
ceal the danger : ' The duke is at your gates with his 
whole army,' he said: 'if you comply with his de- 
mands, he told me you would be satisfied with him ; if 
not, he wUl enter by force this very afternoon. Make 
a virtue of necessity ; or, at the least, send him a 
deputation.' The syndics started for Gaillard im- 
mediately. The duke received them most graciously 
and affectionately. ' I will enter Geneva with none 
but my ordinary retinue,' he told them; ' I will take 
only five hundred footmen for my guard and dismiss 
aU the rest of my army. I will do no injury either 
to the community or to individuals, and my stay shall 
not be long.' His Highness made so many pro- 
mises and oaths that entrance was at last yielded to 

When this resolution of the council was known, 
the indignant patriots threw away their arquebuses; 
all laid down their arms, and a profound dejection 
came over men's minds. Cries of vexation and of 
sorrow were heard, but there stiU. lingered here and 

* Bonivard, Clironiq. ii. p. 352. Les Mameloiiks de Geneve, MS. 
Sayyon, Annates, p. 88. 


there a hope that God would finally deliver the 

On the morning of Tuesday, April 5, the duke set 
all his army in motion. All ! . . . When they heard of 
this, the Genevans hastened to remonstrate with him. 
' My people will only pass through Geneva,' he an- 
swered; ' fear nothing, but open your gates.' — ' Cer- 
tainly,' added some mamelukes ; ' be easy ; they wiU 
come in at one gate and go out at another.' The 
triumph of violence and craft was about to be 
achieved. A people, too simple and confiding, were 
now to be crushed under the feet of a powerful 
prince and of his numerous satellites. All the gates 
were opened, and those which had been walled up 
were broken down. The huguenots, who had voted 
unhesitatingly against the admission of Charles into 
the city, looked on with indignation at this sad 
sight; but they were determined to be present to 
the end at the humiliation of Geneva. Bonivard 
was the most provident ; he took the alarm : he had 
no culverins now in his priory, and he could not 
have resisted the Savoy army with his ten monks. 
' Consent to the duke's entrance . . . what madness ! ' 
he exclaimed. ' Certainly those who know his honesty, 
of whom I am one, are aware of what wiU happen.' 
And this, in Bonivard's opinion, was, that he would be 
the first victim sacrificed by the duke, and that there 
would be many others. ' Wishing,' he tells us, ' to be 
wiser and cleverer than the rest,' he hastily escaped 
into the Pays de Vaud. Berthelier, who was more 
exposed than his friend, and who saw clearly his end 

* See preceding note. 


approaching, was not frightened. He knew that the 
defenders of law and liberty serve their cause by their 
deaths as well as by their lives, and determined to 
await the attacks of Charles and the bastard.* 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii, p. 353. Savyon, Annales. 



the aemt of satot in geneva. 
(Apiol ass May 1519.) 

THE army of Savoy approached the St. Antoiae 
gate : it was like a triumphal progress. Monarchy, 
according to politicians, was about to gain the victory 
over republicanism. ' In front marched the Count of 
Genevois, in complete steel armour,' say the chronicles, 
' wearing a long plume, and riding on a stout stallion, 
who curvetted about so that it was pleasant to see.' 
He was followed by the cavalry in breast-plates. 
Then came the main body, to the number of about 
eight thousand infantry, headed by six Genevan 
mamelukes. Last appeared the duke, followed by all 
his guard; he had laid aside his gracious humour, 
and desired that his entrance should have something 
warlike and alarming. ' Montrotier,' he said to his 
principal captain, ' I have sworn that I wiU only enter 
Geneva over the gates.' Montrotier understood him, 
and, going forward with a body of men, knocked 
down the St. Antoine gate and the adjoining wall. 
The satisfied duke now resumed his triumphal 
march. He was armed from head to foot and rode a 
handsome hackney: two pages carried before him his 
lance and his helmet. One of these was J. J. de 
Watteville, afterwards avoyer of Berne. The weak- 


minded Charles, inflated with his success, pulled up 
his courser, and made him paw the rebellious stones. 
' A true Don Quixote,' says a catholic historian, ' he 
showed the same pride as a conqueror loaded with 
glory who at the cost of much blood and fatigue had 
reduced a fortress after a long and dangerous siege.' 
And if we may believe contemporary docmnents, 
' Charles advanced more like a Jupiter surrounded with 
his thunders than a conqueror ; his head was bare in 
order, said his courtiers, that his eyes, flashing with 
wrath, should blast the audacity of the Genevans who 
should be rash enough to look in his face.' All the 
army having passed the gate after him marched 
through the city in order to parade its triumph in 
the streets and defy the citizens.* 

In conformity with the engagements made by the 
duke, his soldiers entering by one gate ought, after 
crossing the city, to have gone out by the other. 
Bonivard on hearing of this had shaken his head. ' It 
will be with Geneva as with Troy,' said the classical 
prior ; ' the Savoyards, entering by stratagem like the 
Greeks of Sinon, will afterwards remain by force.' 
And so it happened, for the whole army took up its 
quarters immediately in the city. The bands of Fau- 
cigny, which were the most terrible, established them- 
selves at St. Gervais by order of the duke; those of 
the Pays de Vaud at St. Leger, up to the Arve ; those 
of Chablais at the Molard and along the Ehone ; those 
of Savoy and Genevois in the Bourg de Four and the 
upper part of the city. The nobles were lodged in the 

* L^vrier, Sist. Chrmiol. des Comtes de Genevois, ii. p. 166. Les 
Mainelimhs de Geneve, MS. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 553. Savyon, 
Anfudes, p. 89. 


best houses situated principally between Rive and the 
Molard. The duke took up his quarters also on the 
left bank, near the lake, in the Maison de Nice which 
belonged to Bonivard. The count, appointed by his 
brother governor of the city, fixed his head-quarters 
at the h6tel-de-ville. Geneva was taken; the Duke 
of Savoy had made himself master of it by perjury, 
and there he intended to remain. Many citizens 
thought their country for ever lost. The plans formed 
during so many years and even centuries, were realised 
at last; despotism, triumphant in Geneva, was about 
to trample under foot law, constitution, and libei'ty. 
The Savoyards had seen from their mountain-tops a 
fire in this city which disquieted them — a fire whose 
flames might extend and consume the time-worn edi- 
fices their fathers had raised. They were now going 
to stifle these flames, to extinguish the embers, and 
scatter the ashes ; the duke, the emperor his brother- 
iu-law, and his nephew Francis I. might henceforth at 
their pleasure oppress their subjects, put martyrs to 
death, wink at the disorders of nobles and monks, and 
sleep quietly on their pillows. 

The Savoyard princes behaved as in a city taken by 
assault. The very evening of the 5th of April, the 
Count of Genevois removed the cannon fi-om the ram- 
parts, placed them round his quarters, and had them 
loaded that they might be ready to fire upon the 
people, the hotel-de-ville thus- becoming a citadel to 
keep Geneva in obedience. Notwithstanding these 
precautions the count was uneasy; he had violated 
his oaths, and knew that he had to deal with men of 
energy. He did not lie down, and at two in the 
morning his officers went by his orders and knocked 


at the doors of the four syndics, commanding them 
to proceed immediately to the hotel-de-ville. ' Hand 
me the keys of the gates,' said the count, ' the ram- 
parts, the arsenal, and the provision magazines.' If 
the magistrates had really fancied that the Savoyards 
would come as friends, their foolish delusion must 
now have ceased and the bandage have fallen from 
their eyes. But how could they resist? The army 
filled all the city, and the citizens were divided : the 
syndics did what was required of them. The fana- 
ticism of the disloyal mamelukes was not yet satisfied. 
Cartelier, Pierre Joly, Thomas Moyne, and others, 
taking a lesson from the terrible Montrotier, who 
desired to muzzle the Genevans completely, visited 
all the streets, squares, and churches, and began to 
wrench off the staples and locks from the city chains 
and gates, and even the clappers from the beUs. The 
syndics strove in vain to stop this violence. The 
wretches did not forget a street, and having thus dis- 
armed Geneva, they carried aU these trophies to the 
duke. ' It is a sign,' said they, laying them before 
him, 'of the real transfer of the jurisdiction of the 
city, to intimidate the rebels and deprive them of all 
hope of succour. Geneva hes at the feet of your 
Highness.' This occurred before daybreak.* 

At length Wednesday, 6th April, dawned, and that 
day was not less mournfal than its predecessor. The 
Savoyard soldiers, forgetting that they owed their 
success to the scandalous violation of the most sacred 
promises, intoxicated alike with hatred and pride, 
began to show the insolence of conquerors. We know 

* Les Mamelouks de Genhve, MS. Galiifej MaUriaux, &c. ii. pp. 234, 
264. Bpon, Hist. Geneve, i. p. 327. 


the disorders in -wMcli the undisciplined armies of 
tliat period were accustomed to indulge in cities 
taken by storm. The ducal soldiers, not less cruel 
but more fantastical, exhibited in the sack of Geneva 
some of those fai'ces which the imperialists played 
eight years later at the sack of Rome. The citizens, 
taking refuge in the garrets, had given up their feather 
beds to the soldiers. The latter slept soundlj-, and 
next morning, to make up for the battle which had 
not been fought, indulged in one of a different kind. 
Instead of balls they flung the bolsters at each other's 
heads ; taking the beds for enemies, they thrust their 
swords up to the hilt in the feathers : — these were the- 
hardest blows struck in this war by the soldiers of 
Charles III. — Then, eager to prolong their coarse 
jests, they shook the beds out of the windows, watch- 
ing, with roars of laughter, the evolutions made by 
the feathers in the air. They next called for the keys 
of the cellars, and forming a circle round the casks, 
tapped them in various places, singing tlieir loudest 
as they drank their fill. ' Lastly,' says a chi'onicle, 
' they puUed out the spigots, so that the cellar was 
filled with wine ; and stumbling upstairs again into 
the house, they insulted everj'body they met, ran 
shouting through the streets, made boasting speeches, 
and committed a thousand acts of violence.' At Rome, 
the imperialists made a jest of the papacy ; at Geneva, 
the ducal soldiers, drunk with wine and joy, trampled 
independence under foot and exulted over liberty. 
But on a sudden, an alarm was sounded : the braggarts 
imagined that the Genevans were going to defend 
themselves, and, the noisiest talkers being generally the 
greatest cowards, they all scampered away — some ran 


to the right, others to the left ; many fled towards the 
river and hid themselves under the mills; the more 
cunning sought other retreats.* It was only a false 
alarm; the Count of Genevois, being displeased at. 
their behaviour, had given it that it might serve as a 
lesson to the marauders. 

During this time the mamelukes were sitting night 
and day in ' the little stove,' consulting on the best 
means of repressing for ever the spirit of national in- 
dependence in Geneva. They believed the city could 
never belong to Savoy whilst those who had voted 
for the alliance with Friburg were alive. A king of 
Rome, while walking in his garden, struck off with his 
stick the heads of the tallest poppies. The conspirators, 
resolving to profit by the lessons of history, began to 
draw up a proscription list, and placed on it the four 
syndics, the twenty-one councillors, and other notable 
citizens so as to make up forty. Wishing to end the 
affair promptly, certain mamelukes went to the execu- 
tioner and asked him ' how much he would take for 
forty heads?' It seems that he required more than 
the heads were worth, according to the value which had 
been set upon them, for contemporary documents tell 
us that they ' haggled ' about it. Three chronicles of 
the time, all worthy of trust, describe this disgusting 
visit to the headsman.f The rumour got abroad, and 
all Geneva trembled. Some who knew they were on 
the hst, hid themselves. ' A very foolish thing,' said 
others. ' Without God, the most secret hiding-places 

* ' Jusque dana lea lieux privSa qui Staient sur le Ehone.' — Sayyon, 
Annales, p. 90, 

t Bonivard, Chraniq. ii. p. 356. Michel Eoaet, Chron. MS. liv, i. 
ch. xcix. Lea Mmneloulcs de Ombve, MS. p. 140. 

VOL. T. R 


are but as tlie fancies of children, wlio put their hands 
before their eyes and think nobody can see them.' 
The boldest huguenots were filled -with indignation : 
instead of concealing themselves, they girded on their 
swords, raised their heads, and Avalked proudly in the 
streets. ' But they were made to feel the cord (sentir 
la corde).' We do not know whether this means that 
they were beaten or only threatened. ' After this,' 
continues Savyon, ' there was no other resource but to 
commend ourselves to God.'* 

Berthelier and his friends hurried to Marti. They 
represented to him that at the moment when the duke 
had made such fine promises, he was thinking only 
of breaking them ; they added that assuredly this per- 
lured prince would have to answer for his crime. 
The Friburger, at once ashamed and indignant, went 
to the duke and said: ' What do you mean, my lord? 
Do you wish me to be accounted a traitor? I have 
your word. You bade me give the people of Geneva 
assurance of your good will ; they consequently opened 
their gates in good faith; otherwise you would not 
have entered without hard knocks. But now you 
break your promise. . . My lord, you will certainly 
suffer by it.' The duke, embarrassed and annoyed 
and unable to justiiy himself, got into a passion, and 
oflFered the Friburg ambassador the grossest insult: 
'Go,' said he, addressing Marti with an epithet so 
filthy that history cannot transcribe his words, 'get 
out of my presence.' t 

This incident, however, made Charles reflect, and 

* Bonivaid, Chroniq. ii. p. 866. Savyon, Annales, p. 90. 
+ Ibid. 


resolve to give a colour to his violence. Having drawn 
out all his men-at-arms, he summoned a general 
council. Only the mamelukes attended, and not all of 
them ; but notwithstanding their smaU number, these 
ducal partisans, surrounded by an armed force, did 
not scruple to renounce, in the name of Geneva, the 
alliance with Friburg. 

The duke immediately followed up his victory; 
and, Avishing to make the hand of the master felt, 
ordered, in the morning of Thursday, April 7, that 
the ushers and men-at-arms should attend the city 
herald and make proclamation with an increased 
display of force. ' yes ! yes ! yes ! ' said the 
herald, ' in the name of our most dread prince and 
lord, Monseigneur the Duke of Savoy. No one, under 
pain of three blows of the sti-appado, shall carry any 
offensive or defensive weapon. No one shall leave his 
house, whatever noise there may be, or even put his 
head out of the window, under pain of his life. 
Whoever resists the order of Monseigneur shall be 
hanged at the windows of his own house.' Such were 
the order and justice established by Duke Charles.* It 
might be said that, with a view to frighten the Genevans, 
he wished that they might not be able to leave their 
houses without walking in the midst of his victims. 
The proclamation was repeated from place to place, 
and the crowd gradually iacreased. On a sudden, a 
certain movement was observed among the people. A 
few men appeared here and there, whose look had some- 
thing mysterious ; they spoke to their friends, but it 

* Les Mamelouks de Genbve, MS. p. 142. Chronique de Moset, MS. 
liv. i. chap. xcix. Galiffe, Maieriaux, Interrogatoire de Oartelier, ii. p. 

R 2 


was in "whispers. The agitation soon increased; it 
spread from one to another : here a man made signs 
of joy, there of terror. At last the mystery was ex- 
plained. ' Friburg ! ' exclaimed several voices ; ' the 
Friburg army is coming ! ' At these words the city 
herald, the men-at-arms, the mamelukes, and the 
Savoyards who accompanied him, stopped, and, on 
learning that a courier had just arrived from the Pays 
de Yaud, they dispersed. . . Huguenots and mame- 
lukes spread through the city and circulated the good 
news : ' The Swiss ! the Swiss ! ' and the cry was an- 
swered from all quarters with ' Long live the hugue- 
nots ! ' ' Thus the said proclamation could not be 
finished throughout the city,' says a contemporaiy 

Besangon Hugues, having escaped all the peiils of 
the road, had arrived at Friburg, and, without giving 
himself time to take breath, appeared immediately 
before the council. He described the perfidy and 
violence of Charles, the dangers and desolation of Ge- 
neva; he showed that the city was on the point of 
being annexed to Savoy, and the chiefs of the repubhc 
about to be put to death. If Friburg did not make 
haste, it would find nothing but their heads hanging 
at the gates, like those of Navis and Blanchet. 

The look of the generous citizen, the animation of 
his whole person, the eloquence of his appeal, inflamed 
every heart. Their eyes were filled with tears, and the 
men of Friburg laid their hands upon their swords.f 
A regiment, fully armed, mai'ched out immediately for 

* Les Mamelouhs de Oenhve, MS. p. 143. Michael Reset says the same, 
MS. liv. i. chap. c. 

t Galiffe, Mcdenam, ii. p. 294. Spon, Bist. Qenive, i. p. 328. 


Geneva : and that was not all ; tlie flower of the young 
men flocked in from every quarter, and the army soon 
amounted to 5,000 or 6,000 men. Having entered 
the Pays de Vaud, they seized his Highness's governor, 
the Su'e de Lullins. ' Write to your master,' said the 
chiefs of Friburg, ' that he do no harm to our fellow- 
citizens; your head shall answer for theirs: besides, 
we are goiag to give him a treat at Geneva.' Their 
liberating flags soon floated on the hills above the lake. 
A great number of the young men of the Pays de Vaud 
joined them, and the army mustered before Morges 
13,000 to 14,000 strong. At their approach, the ter- 
rified inhabitants of that town, who were devoted to 
the duke, threw themselves into their boats, and fled 
to Savoy. The Friburgers entered their deserted 
houses, and waited for his Highness's answer.* 

Governor de Lullins failed not to warn his master, 
and it was this message that had interrupted the pro- 
clamation. The duke, at once violent and pusillanimous, 
was frightened, and suddenly became as humble as he 
had been insolent before. Sending for the ambassador 
of Friburg, he spoke to him as to a dear friend : ' Haste 
to the camp at Morges,' he said, ' and stop this : pre- 
vail upon your lords to return. ' Marti, who had not 
forgotten Charles's gross insult, answered him bitterly : 
' Do you think that a — ■ — like me can make an army 
retreat? Commission your own people to carry your 
hes.'f Then the duke, still more terrified, sent M. de 
Maglian, a captain of cavalry, to guard the pass at 
Nyon, and, ' changing his song,' he had it cried through 

* ias Mameloulcs, p. 143. Savyon, Annates, p. 91. 
t 'Manda li de votre gen, qui porton votre jangle/ he said in his 
Friburg patois. Savyon, Annales, p. 91. 


all the city ' that no one should dare do harm or dis- 
pleasure to any person of Geneva, under pain of the 
gallows.' At the same time, the Sieur de Saleneuve 
and another of his Highness's councillors went to the 
general council, but this time without riding-whips or 
wands, and with a benevolent smile upon their faces. 
There, after assuring the people of the love the duke 
bore them, they were asked to send two citizens to 
Morges to declare to the Friburgers that the duke 
would do no injury to Geneva. Two mamelukes, 
Taccon and De Lestilley, departed.* 

Everything was changed in Geneva. The proposal 
to cut off forty heads was abandoned, to the great 
regret of Cartelier, who afterwards said : 'What a pity ! 

but for these Friburgers it would have been 

done.'f The huguenots, regaining their courage, 
' mocked at the Faucignerans and the other men-at- 
arms.' J The inhabitants of the Faubourg St. Gervais, 
strongly inclined to raillery, attacked their guests with 
songs, epigrams, and sarcasms. The huguenots im- 
posed on their visitors a strict fast (it was the season 
of Lent), and gave them for rations only some small 
fish called hesolles (now /eras). ' You are too good 
christians,' they said ironically to the Savoyards, ' to 
eat meat now.' And hence they derisively called the 
expedition ' the B^solles war,' a name recorded in 
contemporaneous chronicles. 

They could not come to an understanding at Morges. 

* Les Mamelouks, MS. p. 143. Savyon, Annahs, p. 91. Bonivaid, 
Chroniq. ii. p. 357. Gautiei' MSS. Ze Citadin de Geneve. 

t Galiffe, Muteriaux, Interrogatoire de Owtelier, ii. p. 247. Savyon, 
Annales, p. 92. 

J Bonivard, Clironiq. ii. p. 357. 


Besangon Hugues and Malbuisson were urging the 
Friburg troops to advance; Taccon and De Lestilley 
were urging them to retire. And while the leaders 
hesitated, the deputies of the cantons arrived and pro- 
posed a middle course : that Savoy should withdraw 
her troops, and Friburg her alliance. It was Zurich, 
Berne, and Soleure that sought thus to take advantage 
of the opportunity to withdraw from Geneva the only 
help which, after God, could save her. The huguenots, 
abandoned by the cantons, stood stupefied. ' Re- 
nounce your alliance with Friburg,' repeated the 
League, '■without prejudice to your liierties.^ 'But 
they would not,' said Bonivard, 'for they had the 
majority of votes.' The real majority did not there- 
fore consent to • this fatal proposition ; but it seems 
that it was again carried by the phantom of a general 
council, at which none but mamelukes were present. 
When that was done, the duke hastened to leave 
Geneva, but with less pomp than when he entered; 
and the plague took his place.* 

When Charles quitted the city, he left behind him 
sad forebodings. The Swiss accused the Genevans of 
violence and insults, declaring them guilty of disgrace- 
ful conduct to the duke, their most illustrious ally.f 
The bishop, who was at Pignerol, wrote to the citi- 
zens : ' Having recovered from my serious iUness, I am 
thinking of passing the mountains, for the benefit and 
good of my city.' % Now every one remembered that 

* Registers of the Coimcil, April 11, 1519. Bonivard, Chroniq. n. 
p. 360. Savyon, Annates, p. 93. ArcHves de Geneve, Nos. 913 and 918. 

t ' Insultiis et tumultuationes .... auctoritati ducis damnum noliia 
extranoum et indignum apparet.' — Archives de Geneve, MS. No. 912. 

t Ibid. No. 886. 


he had made use of the same words when he had put 
Xavis and Blanchet to death. The signs were threat- 
ening : the sky was thick with storm. The citizens 
trembled for those who were most precious to them, 
and frightful deeds were about to increase and prolong 
their terror. 'From the war of 1519 until 1525,' says 
the learned Secretary of State Chouet, ' the people of 
Geneva was in great consternation.' * 

• Document addreBsed to Lord Townsend (seyenteentli century). 
Berne MS. H. vi. 57. 



(Apetl to September 1519.) 

FlITHEE the duke nor the bishop had exhausted 
their plans. The heads of Blanchet and Navis, 
suspended seven months before on the walnut-tree, 
were there stiU, tossed by every wind, and telling the 
passers-by that the wrath of the princes was not yet 
appeased. The bishop asked himself whether these 
commoners, who claimed hberty iu the State, would 
delay much longer before demanding liberty in the 
Church. . . People spoke of extraordinary things that 
were happening in Germany. A Wittemberg doctor 
had appealed from the pope to a general council, and 
was preparing to maiutain certain propositions at 
Leipsic in which the primacy of the Roman Church 
was denied as being opposed to the history of eleven 
centuries and to the text of Scripture. Would 
these strange notions, worthy of the Germans, spread 
to countries nearer Eome? Would Wittemberg and 
Geneva, those two little corners of the earth, be two 
volcanoes to shake the ground around them? A re- 
medy must be applied at any cost, and those prin- 
ciples of civil and religious liberty be stifled, which, 
if not seen to in time, might work strange revolutions 
in the world. 


The bishop on his return from Turin had merely- 
passed through Geneva; and fleeing from the plague, 
had taken reftige at Ripaille, near Thonon, whence he 
made the most serious complaints to the Genevans. 
' Tou are always conspiring,' he wrote, ' in order 
that you may satisfy the appetites of a heap of indi- 
viduals who are plotting against their honour and 
against me.' * About the end of June he removed to 
the chateau of Troches, near Dovaine. The principal 
mamelukes hastened to this ancient manorial house.f 
They had no very clear ideas of what was going on in 
Germany, and of the consequences that might result 
to Europe; their attachment to the ducal and episco- 
pal cause depended rather upon motives of interest 
and family tradition ; but they instinctively felt that a 
struggle had begun in Geneva between the old and 
the new times, and that the partisans of the foi-mer 
must combine all their strength against the latter. 
They made the halls of the ch&teau reecho with their 
loud voices ; they entered into cowardly conspiracies ; 
these supporters of feudalism, however honourable 
they might be in other matters, shrank not from any 
crime to check the advent of liberty. There was one 
citizen in particular whom they hated — one hfe that 
must be sacrificed. ' First,' said they to the bishop, 
'we requii'e Berthelier's death, and pray, my lord, 
let the blow be prompt. Second, the rebellious coxm- 
cillors must be dismissed. Third, your grace must 

* Galiffe, MaUriaux, ii. p. 274. M. Galiffe refers this letter to the 
year 1517, at the time of PScclat's trial ; but it is clear from the contents 
and from the Council Eegisters of May 24, 1519, that it belongs to the 
time of which we are speaking. 

t This chateau still exists, and is inhabited, I believe, by the Marquis 
de Dovaine. 


come into the city . . . with good swords ! ' The 
mamelukes undertook to find employment for these 
swords, and the bishop said 'Amen.' 

The cruelties of the princes of Savoy had already 
fallen upon Bonivard. The very day when the duke 
entered the city, the prior of St. Victor left it, ' dis- 
guised as a monk,' accompanied by two friends of the 
Pays de Vaud with whom he was very familiar, the 
Sieur de Voruz and the Abbot of Montheron. ' Fear 
nothing,' said the latter to him ; ' we will go first to my 
abbey ; then we will conduct you to EchaUens, a town 
dependent on Berne, where you will be in safety.' 
But they were leading him to a very different place of 
safety. The priest and the gentleman had made their 
account together. They had said that no one in 
Geneva was more hated by the bishop and the duke 
than Bonivard, that in their eyes he was not a Gene- 
vese, but a Savoyard who had betrayed his prince ; so 
that, to get him into their power, these princes would 
give his weight in gold. The priory of St. Victor was 
a good benefice ; the two perfidious friends had there- 
fore determined to propose an exchange : they would 
put the duke in possession of the prior, while the duke 
should put them in possession of the priory. This es- 
tabhshment would naturally fall to the abbot ; but the 
latter engaged to pay the Sieur de Voruz an annual 
pension of two hundred florins out of the stipend. The 
flashing of the gold dazzled these wretches, and they 
concluded their infamous bargain. The gentleman and 
the abbot appeared to redouble their vigilance lest any 
harm should befaU the prior. When the three travellers 
reached Montheron, in the forest of Jorat, between 
Lausanne and Echallens, the prior was courteously 


conducted into a room, wHcli, without his suspecting 
it, -was to be his prison. The next morning Voruz, 
whom Bonivard trusted like a brother, entered the 
chamber, sat down opposite him, and, laying a sheet 
of paper on the table, said : ' Resign your priory of 
St. Yictor in favour of the abbot.' — ' What ! ' ex- 
claimed the startled Bonivard, ' is it imder a show of 
friendship that you lay these plots ? ' — ' You are our 
prisoner,' Voruz answered coldly; 'all attempts to 
escape will be useless.' Bonivard now understood 
into what hands he had fallen. ' So, then, iastead'of 
taking me to Echallens,' he said, ' you will prevent 
my going there.' He declared that he would set his 
hand to no such robbeiy, and bluntly refused to resign 
his priory. ' The duke is going to put Berthelier 
and his companions to death,' resumed Voruz coldly; 
' be careful. If you will not do what we tell you, we 
will deliver you into his hands, and there will be one 
huguenot the more for the scaffold. You are fi'ee ; 
make your choice — resignation or death ! ' Bonivard 
had no wish to die. Could he leave so soon this 
world that he loved so passionately ? Could he see 
rudely interrupted that beautiful dream of liberty, 
philosophy, and poetry, in whose chimeras he had so 
long indulged ? He consented to everything. ' Good ! ' 
said Voruz, as he took away with him the renunciation 
the prior had signed, and locked the door behind him. 
Bonivard, who thought himself fi-ee now that he had 
become poor, had to learn that the tender mercies of 
the wicked are cruel. He was immediately given up 
by Voruz and the abbot to the duke, who had him 
conveyed to Gex by the captain of his guai-ds. He 
asserted in vain that his only fault was being a friend 

CHAP. XIX. THE bishop's PLOTS. 253 

of the huguenots and of the Swiss ; Charles, in whose 
eyes that was a great crime, impi-isoned him in the 
castle of Grol^e, on the banks of the Rhone, two 
leagues from Belley.* This first impi-isonment, which 
lasted two years, was a foretaste of his harsher and 
longer captivity in the castle of ChiUon. The duke 
put the ahbot in possession of the priory of St. Victor ; 
Voruz received his two hundred florins ; the wicked 
triumphed, and Bonivard in his solitude gave way to 
gloomy thoughts. Was it at the bottom of an obscure 
dungeon that the new times of light and liberty were 
to begin ? 

The duke having struck the first blow, it was now 
the bishop's turn. He was takiug his hohday, travel- 
ling fi'om Ripaille to Troches, ft"om Troches to the 
castle of Bonne, thence to other adjoining places, and 
employiug all his episcopal zeal in raising soldiers. 
On the 16th of August the peasants of these districts, 
who came to the market at Geneva, mentioned that 
the bishop was assembhng armed men for his entrance 
into the city. The syndic De la Mare and one of his 
colleagues, alarmed for the future of the repubHc, 
set out immediately for Bonne, and commended the 
city to John's episcopal tenderness. ' Alas ! ' they 
said, ' it is stricken with the double scourge of the 
plague and the sword.' The prelate, as false as his 
cousin, replied : ' You have been deceived, gentle- 
men ; I shall certainly enter Geneva to-morrow, but 
only with a hundred or a hundred and fifty footmen 
for my guard. I desii^e to live there merrily with the 

* GroMe is now in the department of Ain. Savyon, Annales, p. 89. 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 353. ' Notice ' by Chaponniere, Mem. SArcUol. 
iv. p. 54. Bonivard MSS. 


citizens and protect each one in his rights.'* De la 
Mare and his friend beheved what John of Savoy told 
them, and made their report. The people of the city 
were somewhat reassured : that little weak and starve- 
ling bishop, who looked so like a corpse, seemed not a 
very formidable appearance to them. They resolved 
at least to hide the discontent and fears that they felt 
at heart. ' The shops will be closed, as on a holiday,' 
said the councU, ' and those who have horses will go 
out to meet his lordship.' 

On Saturday, April 20, 1519, the syndics and 
a great part of the city were afoot. At four in the 
afternoon the bishop's escort came in sight ; the per- 
fidious prelate, who was coming for the purpose of 
putting the noblest of the citizens to death, noted 
with a cunning look the handsome reception made 
him. Six hundred soldiers, stout rough men, sur- 
rounded the pastor of Geneva ; ' the bishop had 
thought that number necessary,' say the annals, 'to 
take Berthelier.' The Genevans, remembering that 
John was only to bring with him one hundred or one 
hundred and fifty men-at-arms, counted . . . and found 
six hundred. They saw that the prelate's enti*ance 
was only a second edition of that of the duke. The 
bastard, satisfied with the welcome he received, pro- 
ceeded immediately to his palace and without delay 
convened the general councU for the next day. Sad- 
ness was in all men's hearts. 

On Sunday morning, when the people were assem- 
bled, the bishop appeared, surrounded by his council- 
lors and courtiers. He seemed scarcely alive, but his 

* MS. Registers of the Council, Aug. 19, 1519. 


sullen fierce look announced severe measures. ' My 
lord not having many days to live,' said the official, 
' desires that all things be put in order before his de- 
cease. He has therefore brought some soldiers with 
him that he may correct any who shaU be mad enough 
to resist him.'* 

After delivering this threatening message, the 
bishop returned hastily to his palace, where he re- 
mained shut up for two days without giving any signs 
of life. He had selected his first victim and was 
ruminating in silence on the means of sacrificing him. 
' He kept still,' said Bonivard, ' watching for Berthelier, 
whom he considered the leader of the flock.' During 
this time his satellites, however, did not keep quiet. 
Being quartered on the huguenots, they stole all they 
could carry off; if resistance was made, they used 
insulting language ; they went about maraudtag. But 
the bishop still gave no word or sign. This silence 
alarmed all the city, and every one expected what 
was going to happen. f 

One man alone in Geneva preserved a tranquil heart 
and serene look ; it was Berthelier. He had not wished 
to escape either when Charles or when the bastard 
entered ; he was vainly entreated to withdraw to 
Friburg ; all was useless. He waited for death ; the 
' cheat ' of hope (to use the common expression) did 
not deceive him. ' The wolf is in the fold,' said his 
friends, ' and you will be the first victim.' Berthelier 
listened, smiled, and passed on. In his opinion there 
could be no evil in life to him who has learnt that the 
privation of life is not an evil. He awaited calmly 

* Les Mamelouks de Genive, MS. p. 149. 
t Ibid. 


that tragical end which he had himself foretold, every 
day exposing himself to the attacks of his enemies. 
After the bishop's arrival, ' he went and came just as 
before ; one would have said that, instead of fleeing 
death, he was running after it.' * 

Without the city, in a solitaiy place then called 
Gervasa (now corrupted into Savoises), was a quiet 
meadow, which the Rhone bathed with its swift waters : 
this was Berthelier's favourite retreat. Remote from 
the noise of the city, seated on the picturesque bank 
of the river, watching its blue waves gliding rapidly 
past, he dwelt on the swiftness of time, and castiag a 
serious glance into the future, he asked himself when 
would Geneva be free ? ' Every day he was in the 
habit of taking his pleasure there,' say the annals, ' and 
never omitted doing so, although at the time he had 
so many enemies in Geneva.' f 

On Tuesday, August 23, he went out between 
six and seven to breathe the morning air in his 
favourite retreat.J BertheHer was now forty years 
of age ; everything foretold him that his end was near ; 
but he preferred, without passion and without fear, to 
make the passage from life to death. This active and 
much-dreaded citizen began to sport, but with a serious 
gentleness, upon the brink of the grave. He had a little 
weasel which he was very fond of, and ' for the greater 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 362. Galiife^ Notices Biographiques, i. p. 10. 
Savyon, Annales, p. 96. 

t Savyon, Annates, p. 97, where this place is called Pericua. 

J The Eegisters of the Coimcil state, under the date of Tuesday, Aug. 23, 
that the arrest was made on this day ; Bonivard speaks of Monday, at six 
o'clock. The arrest may have taken place on Monday night, but we have 
followed the Registers, whose accuracy should be superior to Bonivard's, 
who was absent from Geneva. 


contempt of his enemies,' he had taken the tam.e 
' ci-eature in his bosom, and thus walked out to his 
garden, plajdng with it.' The vidame, who knew of 
these morning walks, had given orders for a certain 
number of soldiers to be posted outside the walls of 
the city, whilst he remained within, in order to take 
Berthelier from behind. Just as the latter was about 
to pass the gates, the troop that awaited him came 
forward. Berthelier, 'always hooted and ready to 
depart for the unknown shores of eternity,' had no 
thought of returning to the city and arousiag the 
youth of Geneva; he did not turn aside from the 
road, but continued gently caressing his weasel, and 
' walked straight towards the armed men, as proudly 
as if he was going to take them.' * 

They met,' says a manuscript, ' under the trellis 
in front of the hostelry of the Goose,' f and the vidame, 
who was descending the hill on his mule, coming up 
with him at the same time, laid his hand upon his 
shoulder, saying : ' In the name of my lord of Geneva, 
I arrest you,' and prepared to take away his sword. 
Berthelier, who had only to sound his terrible whistle 
to collect enthusiastic defenders, stood calm, without a 
thought of resistance, and quietly handed his sword to 
the vidame, contenting himself with the words : ' Take 
care what you do with this sword, for you will have to 
answer for it.' 

The vidame placed him in the middle of his soldiers, 
and Berthelier marched off quietly, stiU canying the 
weasel with him. The little timid animal thrust its 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. S69. 
t Les Maumelus de Genive, MS. p. 140. 
VOL. I. S 


pretty head into its master's bosom, while the latter 
encouraged it by gentle caresses. In this way he 
arrived at the Chateau de I'lle, and the vidame, sta- 
tioning guards everywhere, even in. the prisoner's 
chamber,* shut him up in Caesar's tower. On the 
spot where walls had formerly been erected by the 
destroyer of the liberties of Rome, a humble and 
almost unknown citizen, one of the foimders of modem 
liberty, was to find a bloody prison.f 

Berthelier, shut up in the fortress, and surrounded 
by guards pacing up and down his chamber and round 
the castle, felt more free than all of them. We do not 
say that he possessed the freedom that Christianity 
gives ; perhaps it was rather fi-om the Tusculans of 
Cicero than from the Gospel that he had derived the 
calm with which his soul was fiUed; yet it is almost 
impossible not to I'ecognise a noble, serious — ^we could 
almost say chidstian sentiment in him. As he saw 
death approaching, he said that all it had to do was 
to remove its mask, for underneath was the face of a 
Mend. To die . . . what was that ? Does not the 
meanest soldier expose himself to it on the battle-field? 
Was not the death he was about to suffer for the inde- 
pendence of his country a thousand times sweeter and 
more glorious than that of a mercenary? 

Dulce et deconun pro patria mori.J 

Yet his soul was agitated. Those smiling fields he 
loved so well, those graceful banks of the lake and 

• Kegisters of the Council, Aug. 23. Bonivaid, Chrmiq. ii. p. 362. 
t ' A lacu Lemano, qui in flumen Rtodanum influit .... preesidia 
disponit, castella conununit.' — Csesar, De Bella Gallico, lib. i. 
\ Horatius, Carm. lib. iii. 


river, those mountains where the setting sun fired the 
everlasting snows, those friends whose idol he was, 
his country above all, and the liberty which he desired 
to win for her ... all these images rose before him ia 
his prison, and deeply stirred his heart. But he soon 
returned to calmer thoughts. He hoped that his death 
would lead to the deliverance of Geneva, and then his 
courage returned. Yet he was without bravado, and 
to the soldiers around him he showed only a simple 
and candid soul. His little favourite animal still 
played ia his bosom ; surprised at everything about it, 
the weasel at the least noise would prick up its short 
wide ears. Bertheher smiled and caressed it. ' The 
better to mock his guards,' says the prior of St. Victor, 
' he played with his weasel.' * Bonivard, iacliaed to 
take things by the wrong side, saw mockery where 
there was only good-nature. In fact, the guards, 
rough and violent men, touched by so much patience 
and courage, said to Berthelier : ' Ask my lord's par- 
don.'— 'What lord's?'— 'My lord duke of Savoy, 
your prince and ours.' — ' He is not my prince,' he said, 
' and if he were, I would not ask for pardon, because 
I have done no wrong. It is the wicked who should 
beg for pardon, and not the good.' — ' He will put you 
to death, then,' said the guards. Berthelier made no 
reply. But a few minutes after, he went up to the 
wall and wrote : ' Non moriar sed vivam et narraho 
opera Domini — I shall not die but live and declare 
the works of the Lord.' This quotation from the hun- 
dred and eighteenth Psalm, where the Messiah speaks 
by the mouth of David, shows that Berthelier possessed 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. .369. 
8 2 


a certain knowledge of Scripture; perhaps it shows 
us, too, that his soul had cast all its burdens on the 

At that time (1519), when christians, trusting in 
the Bible, were rising at Wittemberg agaiast abso- 
lute power in spiritual things, citizens trusting ia 
the ancient charters of liberty were rising at Geneva 
against absolute power in temporal things. At that 
time there was no fusion of these two principles. 
Perhaps Luther did not become Hberal; Berthelier 
certainly did not become protestant. But in the 
presence of death this great citizen sought consolation 
in the Word of God and not in the ceremonies of the 
priest, which is the essence of protestantism. The 
passage he wrote on the wall has reference to the 
Saviour's resurrection. Did Berthelier find in this 
transformation of the King of believers a solid reason 
for expecting for himself a resurrection, a glorious 
transformation? Did he hope, after this world, for a 
glorified world of imperishable felicity, the everlasting 
abode of the children of God? — We believe so. 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 363. Savyon^ Annates, p. 97. Spon, Sisl. 
de Geneve, i. p. 343. 




(AuGTTSi AXD September 1519.) 

THE prisoner was soon diverted from these whole- 
some thoughts by the arrival of the officers of 
justice. According to the privileges of Geneva, he 
could only be tried by the syndics ; but the bastard 
suspected this lawful tribunal, and jfinding no honest 
man that would undertake to act against the law, 
he issued a provost's commission to Jean Desbois, a 
man of Chamb^ry, then living at Geneva, and ' formerly 
a tooth-drawer,' say contemporary documents. This 
extemporised judge, vain of his functions, wished to 
begin the examination. ' When the syndics, who are 
my judges, question me, I will answer them,' said 
Berthelier, 'but not you, who have no right to do so.' 
— ' I shall come again,' said Desbois after this futile 
attempt, ' and shall compel you to answer me then.' 
The provost went and reported to the bishop the 
unsatisfactory commencement of his high functions.* 
The emotion was universal in Geneva. The friend 
of its liberties, the founder of the league Who touches 

* Bonivard, C^roniq. ii. p. 363. Spon, Hist, de Genive, i. p. 344. 
Savyon, Annates, p. 98. 


one touches all, was about to pay witli his life for his 
enthusiasm in the cause of independence. The bold 
spirits, who braved the papal tyrant, proposed that 
they should consider this act of the bishop's as mere 
brigandage (which it was in fact), and that they should 
support the laws by rescuing Berthelier. But the 
magistrates preferred a more moderate course. The 
Great CouncU was hastily assembled, and at their 
order the syndics waited upon the bishop. ' My 
lord,' said they, ' Berthelier has been acquitted accord- 
ing to law ; and now he is arrested without accuser, 
and without a preliminary information. If he is 
innocent, let him be set at liberty ; if he is guilty, let 
him be tried by us ; do not permit an infringement of 
the fi'anchises in your city.' — 'It is true there is no 
accuser,' said the bishop, ' but common rumour stands 
in his stead ; there is no preliminary information, but 
the notoriety of the deed supplies its place ; as for what 
judges it concerns, the injury having been committed 
against the prince, it is the business of his officers to 
prosecute.' Having thus dragged the sheep into his 
den, the wolf would not let it go.* 

When they were informed of this denial of justice, 
the more energetic party protested loudly. They asked 
if there was any duty more sacred than to deliver 
innocence ? Could the people see with indifference 
the rights which belonged to them from time inune- 
morial trodden under foot by a prince who had sworn 
to defend them ? The bishop and his creatures, fear- 
ing lest the storm should burst, resolved to put the 

* MS. Registers of tte Council, Aug. 23, 1619. Galiffe, MatMaux, 
j. p. 146. 


rebel speedily out of the way. The proceedings did 
not last two days, as Bonivard writes ; all was done 
in one (August 23) between six and seven in the 
morning and four in the afternoon.* Bertheher saw 
what was preparing, but his calmness never failed 
him. He remembered that, according to the sages of 
antiquity, the voluntary sacrifice which men make of 
their lives, out of love for their fellow-countrymen, 
has a mysterious power to save them. Had this not 
been seen among the Greeks and the Romans ? And 
among those very leaguers whom Berthelier had so 
loved, was it not by thrusting the lances of the 
enemy into his bosom that Arnold of Winkelried de- 
livered Switzerland? . . . But if Berthelier desired to 
save Geneva, Geneva desired to save him. Good men, 
the friends of right and maintainers of the sworn 
franchises of the citizens, felt that the ancient laws of 
the State deserved more respect than the despotic will 
of a perjured and cruel prince. The castle where 
the liberator was confined (a private possession of the 
house of Savoy) had long since been put into a con- 
dition to resist surprise ; but Champel, the usual place 
of execution, was at a little distance from the city; 
the moment when Berthelier was conducted there 
would be the favourable opportunity. He will hardly 
have taken a hundred steps beyond the bridge when 
the huguenots, rising like one man and issuing from 
every quarter, will rescue him from the executioners 
who are nothing but murderers before the laws of 
men and the justice of God. 

* Compare the Council Registers of Aug. 23, 1519, and 1526. 
M. Galiffe jimior had already pointed out this mistake of Bonivard's. 
Besanqcm Ungues, p. 245. 


These rumours reached the ears of the bastard, 
who took his measures accordingly. Six hundred 
men-at-arms were drawn out, and 'all the mamelukes 
joined them. The vidame posted a detachment on 
the side of St. Gervais (right bank) to cut off the 
inhabitants of the faubourg from all access to the 
island ; he stationed the greater part ' under arms and 
in line of battle ' along the left bank, so as to occupy 
the bridge, the Eue du Rhone, and the cross streets. 
Among the Savoyard captains who gave the sanction 
of their presence to this legal murder was Franjois 
de Temier, seignior of Pontverre, a violent and ener- 
getic man and yet of a generous disposition. The 
blood of Berthelier, which was about to be shed, 
excited a thirst in his heart which the blood of the 
huguenots alone could quench ; from that hour Pont- 
verre was the deadliest enemy of Geneva and the 
Genevans. But (as pagan antiquity would have said) 
the terrible Nemesis, daughter of Jupiter and Night, 
goddess of vengeance and retribution, holding a sword 
in one hand and a torch in the other, was one day to 
overtake him, a few steps only from the spot where 
the blood of Berthelier was about to flow, and divine 
justice commissioned to punish crime would avenge 
this unjust death in his own blood.* 

All was ready. Desbois entered the prison with 
a confessor and the headsman. ' I summon you a 
second time to answer,' said he to Berthelier. The 
noble citizen refused. ' I summon you a third time,' 
repeated the ex-dentist, 'under pain of losing your 
head.' Berthelier answered not a word: he would 

* Bonivard, Ckrmiq. ii. p. 365, Savyon, Annales, p. 98. Spon, Hist, 
de Oenivc, i . p. 344. 


reply only to his lawful judges, the syndics. He 
knew, besides, that these appeals were empty forms, 
that he was not a defendant but a victim. Then, 
without other formality, the provost pronounced sen- 
tence : ' Philibert Bertheher, seeing that thou hast 
always been rebellious against our most dread lord 
and thine, we condemn thee to have thy head cut off 
to the separation of the soul from the body ; thy body 
to be hung to the gibbet at Champel, thy head to be 
nailed to the gallows near the river Arve, and thj' 
goods confiscated to the prince.' The provost then 
introduced the confessor, ' with whom Berthelier did 
not hold long discourse.' After that the third per- 
sonage, the headsman, came forward and pinioned 

In every quarter of Geneva men's eyes were fixed 
on the Chateau de I'lle. Its old gates fell back, the 
guards marched out first, the provost came next, 
followed by the headsman holding Berthelier. The 
martyr's countenance proclaimed the greatness of his 
soul. There was and stiU is, between the castle and 
the river, a narrow space so protected by the Rhone 
and the fortress, that fifty men could hold it against 
all the inhabitants of Geneva. The prince-bishop, so 
learned ia the art of tyranny, was not ignorant that 
if the victim to be sacrificed is loved by the people, 
the death-blow must be given in prison, in a court- 
yard, on a narrow beach, or in a castle moat. Ber- 
theher having advanced a few steps found himself 
between the ch&teau and the river. ' Say thy pray- 
ers,' said the provost. The hero knew he was about to 

* Savyon, Annales, p. 98. BoniYard, Chroniq. ii. p, 366, 


be murdered : he made ' a short prayer,' and, rising 
from his knees, was preparing ' to utter a few words 
before dying,' to give a last testimony to the liberties 
of Geneva; but the provost would not permit him. 
Turning to the executioner, he said : ' Make haste 
with your work.' — ' Kneel down,' said the man to his 
victim. Then Berthelier, whether he desired to ex- 
press his sorrow at the gloomy future of his feUow- 
citizens, or was moved at seeing himself sacrificed 
and none of his friends appearing to defend him, 
exclaimed as he feU on his knees: 'Ah! . . . Messieurs 
of Geneva' ... It was aU he said ; he had no sooner 
uttered the words 'than the executioner cut off his 
head: it was the 23rd of August, 1519.' The bishop 
had managed matters well. That cruel man was more 
like the wild beast that devours the flock than the 
shepherd who protects them ; he had shown himself 
truly tremendce velocitatis animal^ 'an animal of ter- 
rible swiftness,' as PHny says of the tiger ; but unlike 
that animal, he was cowardly as well as crueL The 
Genevans, whose father he should have been, turned 
from him with horror, and the avenging angel of the 
innocent prepared to visit him with a terrible retribu- 
tion at his death. Vainly would the waters of the 
Rhone flow for ages over this narrow space — there 
are stains of blood that no waters can ever wash out.* 
The bishop intended, however, that Bertheher 
should be conveyed to the place of execution for 
criminals; he only found it more prudent to have 

* Graliffe, Materiaux pour THistoire de Genh>e, ii. p. 297. Pliny, Hist. 
Nat. viii. p. 18. Bonivaxd, Chroniq. ii. p. 366. Savyon, Annales, p. 99. 
A plain inscription on Caesar's tower (in the island) marks the place of 
BertheUer's death. 


him. taken thither dead than alive, beiag sure that in 
this way the ' youths of Geneva' could not restore him 
to liberty. The lifeless body of the martyr was placed 
on a waggon ; the executioner got in and stood beside 
it, holding the victim's head in his hand. A universal 
horror fell upon the people, and many, heartbroken 
at being unable to save their friend, shut themselves 
up in their houses to veil their hatred and their 
shame. The long procession, starting from the castle, 
moved forward, preceded and closed by foreign sol- 
diers; ill the middle was the waggon bearing the 
dead body, and close behind followed many mame- 
lukes, ' not the least of their party, in great insolence, 
mocking at their own calamity ; but good men dared 
not breathe, seeing that when force reigns, the good 
cause must keep still.'* A few huguenots, however, 
mournful and indignant, appeared in the streets or 
at their doors. Meanwhile the executioner, parading 
in his triumphal car, swung derisively to and fro the 
martyr's. bleeding head, and cried: 'This is the head 
of the traitor Berthelier: let aU take warning by it.' 
The procession continued its march as far as Champel, 
where the executioner suspended the body of the fa- 
ther of Genevese liberty to the gibbet. Thence, by a 
singular refinement of cruelty, they proceeded to the 
bridge of Arve, and the head of the dead man, who 
had so often terrified the bishop, was fastened up in 
the place where those of Blanchet and Navis had hung 
so long. The prelate seemed to take pleasure in re- 
viving the recollection of his former butcheries. 
Thus that kind-hearted man whom everybody 

* 'H faut que le bon droit tierme chamlDre.' — Bonivard, Chtaniq. 
ii. p. 368. 


loved, that heroic citizen around whom were concen- 
trated all the hopes of the Mends of liberty, had 
been sacrificed by his bishop. That death so hurried, 
so illegal, so tragical, fiUed the Genevans with horror. 
The fate of his widow and children moved them ; but 
that of Geneva moved them more profoundly still. 
BertheHer had fallen a victim to his passion for his 
country ; and that passion, which made many other 
hearts beat high, drew tears even from the most 
selfish. The body hanging from the gibbet, the head 
nailed up near the bridge of Arve, the memory of 
that sad procession, did not speak to the senses only; 
men's hearts were rent as if by a violent blow, and 
many refused all consolation. There were also 
some proud firm spirits who, unable to weep, gave 
vent to maledictions. They might be met silent and 
frowning in the streets, and their air, the tone of their 
voice, their gait, their ironical and bitter words, ex- 
pressed an indescribable contempt for the murderers. 
They retraced in their minds that strange struggle, 
between cruel princes and a generous, simple-minded, 
poor but free man. On one side were the splendours 
of the throne, the majesty of the priesthood, armies, 
executioners, tortures, scafiblds, and all the terrors of 
power; on the other, a humble man, opposing his 
enemies by the nobleness of his character and the 
unshrinkiug firmness of his courage. . . The combat 
was unequal, and the head of the great citizen had 
&Uen. A bishop looked with an ecstasy of joy on the 
blood of one of his flock, in which he bathed his feet 
while impudently violating all the laws of the country. 
But — and it was the consolation of these proud 


citizens — the blood that had been shed would awaken 
a terrible voice. Outraged justice and bleeding 
liberty would utter a long and mournful cry, which 
would reach the eai's of the Swiss League. Then 
would mountain and valley, castle and cottage, city 
and hamlet, and every echo of the Alps repeat it one 
to another, and thousands of arms would one day 
unite to defend that little city so unworthily op- 

Berthelier's death was to have stUl more serious 
consequences. His enemies had hoped to stifle liberty 
by killing him. Perhaps . . . but it was one of those 
deaths which are followed by a glorious resurrection. 
In the battle which had just been fought noble blood 
had been spUt, but it was blood that leads to victory 
at last. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground 
and die, it ahideth alone ; hut if it die, it hringeth forth 
much fruit. Religious liberty had many victims three 
centuries ago m. all the countries of the Reformation ; 
but the noblest martyrs of political Hberty, in modern 
times, have fallen at Geneva (if my judgment does 
not mislead me), and their death has not been useless 
to the universal cause of civilisation. Cruciate, tor- 
quete, damnate . . . sanguis christianorum, semen. The 
blood of the martyrs is a seed — a seed which takes 
root and bears fruit, not only in the spot where it has 
been sown, but iu many other parts of the world. 

Berthelier's friends were struck by his contempt of 
death and assurance of eternal life. They still seemed 
to hear the noble testimony he had borne to immor- 

* Galiffe, MMriaux, ii. pp. 297, 298. 


tality. Hence one of them wrote this noble epitaph 
for him : — 

Quid mihi mors noouit ? Virtus post fata Yxrescit; 
Neo cruoe nee gladio ssevi perit ilia tyranni.* 

As we see, the idea of a resurrection, of a life after 
death, over which man has no power, seems to have 
been uppermost in the mind of Bertheher as well as 
of his friends. This man was not a common martjT 
of liberty, 

' VerUy,' said some, ' the maxim lately set forth is 
a true one : Heroes and the founders of repubhcs and 
empires have, next to God, the greatest right to the 
adoration of men.'f 

The bishop hastened to take advantage of his vic- 
tory. ' Berthelier's death,' said his friend Bonivard, 
'gives the tyrant great comfort, for the watch-dog 
being killed, he can easily manage the scattered sheep.' 
The bishop began, therefore, to move onwards, and 
undertook to revolutionise Geneva. At first he re- 
solved to change the magistrature. Four days after 
the execution he assembled the general council, and, 
assuming the airs of a conqueror, appeared at it with 
a numerous train. ' We John of Savoy,' said he in 
the document which has been preserved, ' bishop and 
prince of Geneva, being informed of the dissensions 
of this city, have not feared to come hither at great 
expense to administer by force of arms the most effec- 
tual remedy ; and we have behaved like a good shep- 
herd. My lord the Duke of Savoy, who singularly 

* ' What harm has death done me ? Virtue flourishes beyond the 
grave ; it perishes neither hy the cross nor the sword of the cruel tyrant.' 
t Machiavelli. 


loves this city, having desired to enter it, the syndics 
and the seditious have with incredible annoyance re- 
belled against a prince so gentle ; * and if this illus- 
trious prince had not been touched with compassion, 
if he had not surpassed by his clemency the charity 
of the Redeemer f ... we should all have been de- 
stroyed.' After these strange words from a bishop, 
who placed the duke above Jesus Christ, at the very 
time when this prince had made himself the accom- 
plice in a murder, Master Chappuis, the official, called 
out: ' Say is it not so?' None but mamelukes were 
present at the assembly, and among them several 
persons who had no right to be there. Many voices 
shouted, ' Yes, yes ! ' for it was then the reign of 
terror. The syndics, ' more ready to yield the bishop 
their maces than their heads,' says Bonivard, laid 
down before him the insignia of their office. The next 
day another general council elected four mameluke 
syndics: P. Versonay, P. Montyon, P. de Fernex, 
and G. Danel, ' who everywhere and in everything did 
what the bishop and the duke desired.' The same 
day, all huguenots were excluded from the two coim- 
cUs ; and the bishop forbade the citizens to carry arms 
or to assemble by night, under penalty of a fine of 
twenty-five livres and ten stripes of the cord. 

Sorrow and dismay filled men's hearts. Geneva 
lay as it were under one of those funeral paUs which 
are stretched over the dead. No one stirred out, no 

* ' Tarn mansuetum principem.' 

t 'Nisi fiiisset princeps ipse Olustrissimus misericordia plenus, auaq^ue 
dementia vicisset pietatem Eedemptoiis.' The document wUl he found 
entire among tlie Pieces Juslificatives, appended to Bemnqon Hugues, by 


one spoke; all was motionless and silent; the air of 
despotism could be felt, as it hung over and benumbed 
the soul. Besan9on Hugues, A. L^vrier, and the 
other patriots retired to their homes ; but they had 
not lost hope ; they waited in silence until God should 
make the cause of liberty to triumph again in their 
country.* Erelong, however, a few courageous 
spirits awoke and began to stir. The patriots felt 
the need of pouring out their sorrows together ; and 
it was told the bishop ' that several persons of the 
huguenot sectf were in the habit of meeting secretly 
in various places.' Then the persecutions began 
afresh : ' They spared the good as little as the bad,' 
says Bonivard, ' and accused them of false crimes to 
be revenged on them.' 

A short time before the period we are describiag, 
Amadeus de Joye, one of Berthelier's fiiends, had 
committed an act of little importance in itself, but 
which was the first sign of opposition in Geneva to 
the Romish superstitions. Two years earlier Luther 
had written to Spenlein his beautiful letter on 
justification by faith; he had expounded the epistle 
to the Galatians, and probably posted up his theses. 
Zwingle, who had been appointed preacher at Einsie- 
deln, was declaiming against pilgrimages, ofierings, 
images, and the invocation of the Virgin and the 
saints. Had the report of these sermons reached 
Geneva? It is possible, for, as we have seen, there 
was constant intercourse between this city and the 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 270, 273. Savyon, Anndks, p. 101. 
Qaliffe, Matirima, ii. p. 277. 

t ' Ayguinocticaj sectaj,' — GalifFe, Math-imix pour I'Histoire de 
Oenbve, ii. p. 164, 


German cantons. However that may be, many Gene- 
vans were already asking if the glory of God 'was 
not defiled by so foolish and lifeless a thing as an 
image ? ' Amadeus de Joye, whom we have met be- 
fore at the Molard assembly, and whom his enemies 
accused of being the friend of Berthelier, P^colat, 
' and many other villains,' felt little respect for the 
bishop's dolls. Now there was at Geneva a famous 
black image of wood, between two and three feet 
high, called St. Babolin. Certain catholics held it 
in great devotion, carrying it in long processions, and 
rendering it every sort of honour. One night when 
the worshippers of St. Babolin had assembled in the 
house of Ami Motey, one of their number, De Joye, 
indignant at their idolatry and thinking the ugly 
figure was more like a devil than a god, carried it 
ofl", and, with the intention of giving a lesson to the 
partisans of the idol, took it to Motey's house. The 
window was open ; he listened to the conversation of 
this devout little circle, and taking courage raised the 
image as high as the casement and flung it into the 
midst of its worshippers. It must be acknowledged 
that this was not controversy of the right sort ; but it 
was the sixteenth centuiy, and the Genevans were of a 
bold and scof&ng humour. The startled followers of 
BaboHn looked with astonishment at their saint, which 
appeared to have fallen from heaven. All of a sudden 
the door was opened and a loud voice called out : ' It is 
the devil ... he will eat you all ! ' At these words, 
Motey jumped up, caught hold of a javelin and prepared 
to hurl it at the intruder ; but De Joye hastily retired. 
There were no blows given, and no blood was shed.* 

* Galiffe, Materiaux, ii. pp. 225-228. 
VOL. I. T 


, This incident had been almost forgotten, when the 
bishop's agents, who were resolved to be severe upon 
the Mends of liberty, shut up De Joye in the Ch&teau 
de rile, where BertheHer had been imprisoned, and 
asked the syndics' permission to question and to tor- 
ture him in order to get at the truth (7th Septem- 
ber, 1519). Besides this affair of the image, he was 
charged with ' having been present at illegal meetings 
where the citizens bound themselves by oath to resist 
any infringement of their liberties by word or by 
deed.'* The syndics ordered that De Joye should be 
examined in prison, pede ligato^ with the feet bound. 
The proceedings commenced. 

' I was born of worthy, upright, and distinguished 
parents,' said De Joye when he appeared before the 
S3mdics, ' and by them trained up virtuously until the 
age of manhood. Since then I have associated with 
all the good men of the city, and in the profession 
which I follow I have always borne a good reputation. 
Far from picking quarrels, I have carefully avoided 
them, and have reconciled many. Finally, I have 
been all my life faithful and obedient to my lord the 
bishop.' f These words, which we transcribe from the 
documents in the trial, were of a nature to inspire 
the judges with a certain respect ; but they did not. 
First Claude du Bois, the vidame's lieutenant, and 
next the governor of the castle, proposed that De Joye 
should be put to the torture to force him to confess the 
crimes imputed to him ; J but it was decided to begin by 
examining the witnesses, who told what they had heard 

* Galiife, Matiriaux, ii. p. 214. 

t Ibid.., Interrog. de De Joye, ii. p. 224. 

% ' Ut Veritas ex ore delati eruatur.' — Ibid. ii. pp. 221, 224. 


say by persons whose names they could not remember. 
Fine evidence on which to put a man to the torture ! * 
The governor did not abandon his project ; the vi- 
dame came in person to urge the syndics to do him 
this pleasure, f Could they be denied, when it con- 
cerned only a contemner of St. Babolin? Amadeus 
knew not the Gospel ; his opposition to the black image 
proceeded merely from the disgust which superstition 
inspires in intelligent minds, and there was in his 
character more fire than firmness, more impetuosity 
than perseverance. The mUd, weak, and infirm man, 
who was scared by the idea of torture, fancied his limbs 
already dislocated, and beginning to weep he offered to 
make oath of his innocence on the relics of St. Anthony. 
To aU the questions put to him he replied only by 
groans and tears. The vidame, whose heai't was 
hardened, again demanded that he should be put to 
the torture. ' My right arm is crippled,' exclaimed 
the poor wretch; 'the sinews are contracted.' Two 
surgeons declared, after examination, that he might be 
able to bear the strappado, but could not support the 
torture of the chatte without fainting. J There were 
in the executioner's list punishments for all tempera- 
ments, for the sick and crippled as well as for the 
strong. De Joye, who, after he had sown his wild 
oats, had become a respectable citizen, was neither 
a hero nor a revolutionist. The embarrassed judges, 
not finding sufficient cause in the Babolin joke to 
put a man to death, helped him to escape during the 
night, and so saved appearances. The persecutions 
of the bishop were not limited to a single individual . 

* Oaliffe, MaUriaux, ii. p. 227. t Ibid, J Ibid. 

T 2 


John of Savoy took delight in power, and wished to 
show the cardinals that he was strong enough to put 
down revolt. ' They imprisoned,' says Bonivard, 
' they beat, they tortured, they beheaded and hanged, 
so that it was quite pitiful.' * Geneva was crushed. 

As it was not enough to lay their hands upon men, 
the princes of Savoy laid their hands upon the consti- 
tution. War was made against principles still more 
than against persons. It was necessary to stifle those 
strange aspirations which carried men's minds towards 
new ideas, and to put an end to imaginations which 
denied the lawfulness of absolute power. The duke, in 
accord with the bishop, published, although he was 
a foreign prince, an act restricting the liberties of 
Geneva, which banished from the general council all 
young men (for they were suspected of independence), 
and deprived the people of the direct election of syn- 
dics. On the 3rd of September, the general council, at 
which few but mamelukes were present, accepted these 
articles in silence. Thus did the Duke of Savoy, with 
the bishop's help, triumph over principles, rights, and 
liberties, and think he had strangled in their nest the 
young eagles whom he had once feared to see soaring 
into the heavens. Geneva, humbled and silenced by 
a bad prince and a maimed constitution, was no longer 
to be feai'ed. 

The sorrow was general, and it might have been 
supposed that the community only possessed strength 
enough to yield its last breath. But as was seen 
formerly in Israel, in moments of crisis, how prophets 
and prophetesses arose, so voices were heard in Geneva 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 374. 


— voices of tlie weakest creatures — proclaiming the 
ruin of the people and denouncing the awful judg- 
ments of God. A poor girl for three days walked up 
and down the city, neither eating nor drinking, but 
crying everywhere as she went : Le maz mugnier ! 
le maz molin I le maz m,olu ! . . . tout est perdu. 
' Wicked miller ! wicked mill ! wicked meal ! . . . 
All is lost ! ' The miller was the prince, the mill 
was the constitution, the meal was the people. . . It 
seems that this monotonous and doleful voice affected 
everybody, even the mamelukes ; the world readily 
believed in the marvellous in those days ; and the 
vidame dared not arrest the prophetess. Syndic 
Balard, one of the most enlightened men in Geneva 
at that time, saw a deep meaning in the poor girl's 

• Journal fcontemporaln) de Balard, p. 309. Gautier MS. 

278 THE BErORlVLA.T10N IN EUROPE. book i. 




THE prophetess was mistaken : the meal was good. 
On a sudden the sky hitherto so dark cleared up, 
and there was a gleam of sunshine. The duke, who 
was thinking of marriage, returned to Turin ; the 
bishop, who was seriously IE. and needed a warmer 
air, withdrew to his abbey of Pignerol, and the hu- 
guenots, freed from their two oppressors, raised their 
heads. Ramel, Hugues, Taccon, Baudichon de la 
Maison-Neuve, and two others, waited upon the epi- 
scopal vicar, prothonotary of the holy see, and de- 
manded the revocation of the decrees contrary to the 
liberties of the city, and the liberation of all citizens 
imprisoned by the bishop. ' In case of refusal,' they 
said, ' we shall appeal to the metropolitan see of 
Vienne.' * The vicar, remembering the excommuni- 
cation incurred in the affair of P^colat, was alarmed, 
and granted all they demanded. This concession 
raised the courage of the most timid, and the patriots 
immediately held meetings to provide for the safety 

* ' Ad sanctam sedem metropolitanara Vienneusem,' — Pieces Justi/ica- 
fhvs de Bcsuiujon Hwjuei^, par M. Galiife ills. 


of the city. Aim^ L^vrier, the judge, was especially 
prominent. Berthelier had been the man of action, 
L6vrier was the man of right: he had seen with 
sorrow force substituted for law. In his opinion, 
every idea hostile to right ought to be combated; 
and the government of the bishop was not that of the 
laws, but of arbitrary power and terrorism. Levrier 
had examples in his own family : the prelate had 
caused his brother-in-law (the procurator Chambet) 
to be thrown into prison because he was a huguenot, 
and to be tortured so severely that his limbs remained 
out of joint. ' God made man free,' said Levrier, 
' ages have made Geneva free ; no prince has the right 
to make us slaves.' Despairing of ever seeing the 
bishop reign with justice, he proposed an effectual 
remedy : ' Let us petition the pope for the prelate's 
destitution.' The daring motion was agreed to, and 
Levrier was commissioned to go to Eome to see to its 
execution. The princes of Savoy succeeded in stop- 
ping him, and parried the blow, in part at least. 
Leo X., however, acknowledging how shameful the 
bishop's conduct had been, ordered the bastard never 
to return to Geneva, and to select a coadjutor to re- 
place him. This was a cruel disgrace to the prelate. 
Nor was this all: the people reasserted their an- 
cient rights. The time had come for electing the 
syndics for the year ; the duke and the bishop, as it 
wiU be remembered, had deprived the citizens of the 
right to elect, and accordingly the Great Council 
nominated these magistrates ; but immediately loud 
protests were heard. The aged John Favre* and his 

* The Eegisters of the Council say John Fabri ; the words Fam-e and 
Fabri, being both derived from Faher, are frequently confounded. 


two sons, with De la Mare, Malbuisson, Vandel, 
Richardet, and others, protested vigorously against 
this illegal act, and declared that the election ought 
to take place according to the ancient franchises. 
The people were at that time assembled in general 
council. The mamelukes, unwilling to restore the 
liberties which their chiefs had taken away from the 
citizens, resisted stoutly; and there was an immense 
uproar in the assembly. The huguenots, ever prompt, 
immediately organised the bureau, not troubling them- 
selves about the protests of their adversaries, and the 
popular elections began. At this news the ministers 
of the bishop and the duke hurried to the council, 
exclaiming : ' Stop ! it is a great scandal ; the Great 
CouncO. has already named the S3Tidics ! ' The hu- 
guenots resisted; they declared they would resume 
the ancient privileges of which a foreign prince had 
deprived them ; and the ministers of the two cousins 
(Charles and John), finding their only resource was 
to gain time, demanded and obtained the adjournment 
of the election until the morrow. The huguenots 
felt themselves too strong not to wait. The next day, 
which was Monday, the citizens poured from every 
quarter towards St. Pierre's, fall of enthusiasm for the 
constitutions handed down by their ancestors. Vio- 
lence could not annul right ; the election was made 
by the people in conformity with the liberties of Ge- 
neva. But the huguenots, having recovered their 
liberties, gave a proof of a moderation still more sur- 
prising than their energy. They knew that by being 
patient they would be strong ; they thought that the 
election of huguenot syndics might, under present cir- 
cumstances, cause the storm to burst, and bring down 


incalculable disasters upon the city ; they therefore re- 
turned the same syndics as the Great Council had done. 
After having conquered absolutism, they conquered 
themselves. To construct with haste a scaffolding 
that might afterwards be easily thrown down was not 
their object; they desired to lay a solid foundation 
for the temple of liberty.* 

They did more : they attempted a reconciliation. 
Three of them, headed by Robert Vandel (who was 
syndic in 1529), called upon the mameluke sjmdic 
Danel, and said : ' Let us forget our mutual offences 
and make peace ; let us drop the names mameluke 
and huguenot, and let there be none but Genevans 
in Geneva. Bring the matter before the council.' 
The huguenots, like true citizens, desired union in 
their country ; not so the mamelukes, who were sold 
to the foreigner. They referred the proposition to the 
vicar and episcopal council, and then to the bishop 
and the duke — a sure means of insuring its failure.f 
Moderation, concord, respect for the rights of aU, 
were on the side of liberty. The only thought of the 
priests and mamelukes was how to separate themselves 
from the public cause. Of this a striking proof was 
seen at that time. 

Money to pay the expenses of the war (known as 
the war des Bksolles) had to be raised. The clergy, 
notwithstanding their wealth, refused to pay their 
quota, little suspecting that by their avarice they were 
preparing the way for the Reformation. J To no pur- 

* Eegistres du Conseil des 3, 5 et 6 ffivrier 1520. Bonivaid, Chroniq. ii. 
p. 377. 
t Ibid. 3 mal 1620. 
% Eegistera of the Council, Feb. 25 and Oct, 5, 1520. 


pose did the huguenots, who had shown themselves so 
magnanimous in the election of the sjmdics, make an 
earnest movement to reconcile aU parties ; the priests, 
thinking only of their purses, replied by one of those 
violent measures customary with the papacy. A cita- 
tion from Rome fell suddenly into the midst of 
Geneva ; the pope summoned the chief magistrates of 
the republic to appear before him, to render an account 
of the tax they had dared to levy upon the priests ; and 
on the 30th of April the agents of the court of Rome 
posted the citation on the gates of the chui'ch of St. 
Pierre. The citizens ran up to read it. What ! the 
priests must always keep themselves apart ! Poor 
men who gain their living painfully by the sweat of 
their brow, must stiat their children's bread in order 
to pay this debt; and these debauched monks, these 
indolent priests, stiU abundantly enjoy the delights 
of the flesh, and are not willing to make the smallest 
sacrifice ? The public conscience was stirred, the 
city thrilled with indignation, ' everybody was much 
vexed ; ' the next day the anger excited by this 
new act of meanness, this crying selfishness, burst out, 
and ' there was some riotinig.' 

Had the Reformation anything to do with this op- 
position to the selfishness of the priests and the de- 
spotism of Rome? It is possible, nay, probable; but 
it is a mistake to mix up the Reformer of Wittem- 
berg with it. ' Luther,' says Bonivard, ' had already 
given instruction at this time to many in Geneva and 
elsewhere.'* The instruction^ mentioned by the prior 

* Bonivard, Chrmdq. ii. p. 382. Tlie words dxmni des instructions are 
not legible in the MS., but tbe context requires them. 

CHAP. XXI. LTJTHER's example encourages geneva. 283 

of St. Victor, clearly refers to christian truth in ge- 
neral, and not to the conduct of the Genevese under 
present circumstances. Had Luther done more ? 
Had he addressed to Geneva any of his evangelical 
teachings, as Bonivard seems to indicate? Had he 
begun in this city the work that Calvin completed, as 
one of Bonivard's editors thinks?* This seems to 
LIS more than doubtful. The influence exercised by 
Luther over Geneva is indisputable ; but it proceeded 
solely from his writings ; it was the general influence 
of the evangelical ideas scattered through the world 
by the great Reformer. 

It was the year 1520. Luther was known at 
Geneva. A few huguenots, indignant at the bull 
from Rome, asked whether this monk, who was al- 
ready spoken of throughout Christendom, had not 
shown that the pope had been often mistaken, and 
was mistaken every day ? When the pope had con- 
demned him, had not Luther appealed from the 
pope ? Had he not said that the power of the sove- 
reign pastor ought not to be employed in murdering 
' Christ's lambs and throwing them into the jaws of 
the wolf ? ' . . . When the pope had launched a bull 
against this bold doctor, as he now launched a cita- 
tion against Geneva, had not Luther asked how it 
was that you could not find in all the Bible one word 
about the papacy, and that while the Scriptures often 
mention little things, they positively say nothing of 

* ' Luther, qui avait d^ja de ce temps traTaill^ les esprits a Geneve, fit 
pveuve d'une grande sagacity en f^condant, dans I'int^ret de aa cause, un 
terrain aussi bieu pr^parS que I'^tait cette villa pour adopter la E6for- 
mation.' — Note 3, p. 383, vol. ii. of the Chroniques, Geneve, 1831. 


what we are assured are the greatest in the church?* 
. . . 'We are no longer so frightened at the pope's 
bells,' said the Genevans, ' and will not let ourselves 
be caught in his nets.' f Such was the first echo in 
Geneva of the cry uttered at Wittemberg. On those 
hiUs which rise so gracefully at the extremity of that 
beautiful lake, there was a soil ready to receive the 
seed which Luther was scattering in the air. It came 
borne on the winds from the banks of the Elbe even 
to the banks of the Rhone. Geneva and Wittemberg 
began to shake hands. 

The Genevan priests, hearing the name of Luther, 
were alarmed ; they fancied they already saw the 
dreaded face of the arch-heretic in Geneva, and began 
to make long processions to avert the wi'ath of hea- 
ven. One day, wishing at any cost to save their 
purses and their faith, they organised a procession on 
a greater scale than usual. Issuing from the city 
they proceeded with loud chants towards Our Lady 
of Grace on the bank of the impetuous torrent of 
Arve, whose turbid waters descend from the glaciers. 
All were there — canons, priests, monks, scholars in 
white surplices, while clerks, proud of their office, 
bore in front the image of St. Peter, the symbol of 
the papacy. The spectacle was very displeasing to 
the townspeople. If, they thought, we can do with- 
out the pope, like Luther, may we not also do without 
these canons, monks, and priests? Has not Luther 
said that ' a christian elected by christians to preach 
the Gospel is more truly a priest than if aU the 

* Luther's "Works : Against the Stdl of Antichrist — Appeal to a Free 
Council — Foundation of the Articles condemned by the Bull. 1520. 
t Bonirard, Chroniq. ii. p. 382. 


bishops and popes had consecrated him ? ' * It is 
scarcely probable that the Genevans would have had 
the idea of putting into practice this theory of the Re- 
former ; but some of them desired to get quit of this 
army of Rome, in the pay of the Duke of Savoy. ' All 
the priests have gone out,' said they; ' let us profit by 
the opportunity to shut the gates of the city, and pre- 
vent them from returning ! ' As the priests placed 
their interests in opposition to those of the city, it 
seemed logical to put them quietly out of Geneva. 
' All those black coats,' says Syndic Roset, ' were very 
nearly shut out, through separating themselves from 
the republic' f We may imagine the fright of the 
priests when they learnt what had been proposed. 
There was nothing, they thought, of which these 
huguenots were not capable, and such an ofi^-hand way 
of getting rid of the clergy at one stroke was very 
much in keeping with their character. The citizens 
were not however bold enough for this. ' The prudent 
averted that,' says Bonivard. The startled monks 
and priests returned hastily and without opposition 
to their nests, and lived once more at their ease: 
they escaped with a good fright. This strange 
proposal, made by a few men of decision, has been 
considered a prelude to the Reformation in Geneva. 
That is saying too much ; it required the Gospel to be 
first preached in the city : and that was the real pre- 
lude. The hour of the Reformation had not yet 
come ; still the lesson was not lost, and an arrange- 
ment was made with the clergy, who paid a portion 
of the expenses of the war. 

* Lutter to the German nobles, 1520. 

t Roset, Chroniq. liv. i. chap. ovi. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 383. 


Other events gave some hope to the Genevans, 
whose franchises were so rudely trodden under foot ; 
their greatest friend came out of prison, and their 
greatest enemy quitted this world. Bonivard was 
still in confinement, but his relations, who had great 
influence at court, solicited the duke to restore him 
to liberty. ' I dare not,' said Charles, ' for fear of 
offending the pope.' They then applied to Rome: 
Leo X. commissioned the Bishop of BeUey to investi- 
gate the matter, and the friends of the prior entreated 
this prelate to set the prisoner at large : ' I dare not,' 
he replied, ' for fear of ofi'ending the duke.' At 
last the duke consented, and Bonivard recovered his 
liberty but not his priory. The Abbot of Montheron, 
to whom Charles had given it, having gone to Rome 
to arrange his affairs, was invited by certain ecclesias- 
tics who coveted his benefice to a banquet ' after the 
Roman manner, and there,' says Bonivard, ' they 
gave him some cardinals' powder, which purged the 
soul out of his body.' * It was by having recourse 
to this ' romanesque ' fashion that the guilty soul 
of Pope Alexander VI. had been hurried from the 
world. A deed was found by which the repentant 
Montheron resigned to Bonivard whatever rights he 
had over the priory ; f but Leo X. gave St. Victor to 
one of his cousins, who leased the revenue for 640 
gold crowns ; and Bonivard, the amiable and brilliant 
gentleman, brought up in abundance, at one time prior 
and even prince, was left in poverty. ' It is true that 
he succeeded for a time in being put in possession of 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 180. 

t Dr. Chaponnifere has printed the deed. M4m. d! Ardhiologie, iv. p. 


his priory ; but the duke soon made him regret in a 
horrible dungeon the liberty and goods that had been 
restored to him. Geneva's day of agony was not yet 
ended, and at the very time when the citizens hoped 
to be able to breathe a purer air, oppression once more 
came and stifled them. 

Another event which seemed likely to be favourable 
to Geneva was approaching. The pope, as we have 
said, had forced a coadjutor upon the bishop, and the 
latter had chosen Pierre de la Baume, an ecclesiastic 
of high family, a scion of the illustrious house of the 
counts of Montrevel, whom he looked upon as a son. 
Pierre, who was abbot of Suze and St. Claude, and 
bishop of Tarsus in partibus, came to Geneva about 
the time of Bonivard's liberation in 1521 to take pos- 
session of his charge. On the 25th of January a Te 
Deum was sung for that purpose at St. Pierre's by 
the Bishop of Maurienne. Everybody knew that the 
coadjutor would soon be bishop and prince j accord- 
ingly aU passions were aroused, and after mass, the 
mamelukes endeavoured to gain over the future 
bishop to their side. Besangon Hugues, who desired 
to see Geneva catholic and episcopal, but free, waited 
upon the prelate ; reminded him, to pave the way for 
a good reception, that one Hugues, his great-uncle, 
had been cardinal, and perceiving that he had to deal 
with a frivolous, vain, pleasur^seeking man, and who, 
as a younger son, was ambitious to rise at least as high 
as his elder brothers, he strove to make him understand 
that, far from submitting to the duke, he should re- 
member that the Bishop of Geneva was prince, while 
the duke was only vassal. Pierre de la Baume, a 
weak man, ever halting between two opinions, carried 


away by the honesty and eloquence of the Genevan 
citizen, gave him his confidence. Besangon Hugues 
remained ever after his most confidential adviser.* 

Erelong another scene was enacted beyond the 
Alps. The miserable John of Savoy lay at Pignerol 
on his death-bed. Given during his life to the plea- 
sures of the table and of debauchery, he was now 
paying the penalty of his misdeeds. He suffered 
from the gout, he was covered with filthy ulcers, he 
was little more than skin and bone. He had thought 
only of enjoying life and oppressing others; he had 
plotted the ruin of a city of which he should have been 
the pastor ; he now received the wages of his iniquity. 
Near the bed where this prelate lay languishing stood 
his coadjutor, who had hastened from Geneva to Pigne- 
rol. With eyes fixed upon the dying man, Pierre sought 
to buoy him up with false hopes ; but John was not 
to be deceived. Soon the dreaded moment ap- 
proached ; an historian, whom Romish writers quote 
habitually with favour,f describes all that was horrible 
in the end of this great sinner. Hirelings surrounded 
the dying bishop, and turned their eyes from time to 
time on him and on the objects they might be able to 
carry ofi" as soon as he was insensible. Pierre de la 
Baume contemplated the progress of the disease 
with ill-dissembled satisfaction, eagerly anticipatmg 
the moment when, relieved from his hypocritical 
cares, he would enter into possession of aU that he 
had coveted for so many years. Jean Portier, the 

* Registres du Conseil du 25 Janvier 1521. JBesan^on Ungues, par 
Galiffe fils, p. 253. 

t M. Galiffe. I do not know what documents justify the picture 
drawn by this vigorous writer. 


dying man's secretary, the confidant of his successor, 
watched that criminal impatience, that sordid cupidity, 
and that perverse meanness, which he already hoped 
to turn to his advantage. The shadows of the victims 
of the expiring man were traced on the walls of the 
room by an avenging hand, and when at last the 
priests desired to administer extreme unction, he 
imagined they were covering him with blood. They 
presented him the crucifix; he seemed to recognise 
the features of Berthelier, and asked with a wild 
look: 'Who has done that?' Far from embracing 
with respect and submission this emblem of eternal 
salvation, he rejected it with horror, heaping foul 
abuses on it. Blasphemy and insult mingled with the 
foam that whitened his trembling lips. Thus wrote an 
author less Romanist, we perceive, than is imagined.* 
Eepentance succeeded despair in the guilty soul of 
the prelate before his death. Turning a last look on 
his adopted son, he said to him : ' I wished to give 
the principality of Geneva to Savoy . . . and to attain 
my object, I have put many innocent persons to 
death.' The blood that he had shed cried in his ears : 
Wavis, Blanchet, and Berthelier rose up before him. 
Pursued by remorse, weighed down by the fear of a 
Judge, he would have desired to save La Baume from 
the faults he had committed himself. ' If you obtain 
this bishopric,' continued he, ' I entreat you not to 
tread in my footsteps. On the contrary, defend the 
franchises of the city. . . In the sufi'erings I endure, 
I recognise the vengeance of the Almighty. . . I pray 
to God for pardon from the bottom of my heart. . . In 

* Galiife, Matdriaux, &c. ii. p. 303. Galiffe's work is often quoted 
with approbation by Koman catliolics. 
VOL. I. U 


purgatory . , . God will pardon me ! ' * It is gratify- 
ing to hear this cry of an awakening conscience at the 
termination of a criminal life. Unfortunately Pierre 
de la Baume did not profit by this solemn advice. 
The bastard died after horrible sufferings, ' inflicted 
by the divine judgment,' says Bonivard, ' and he 
went into the presence of the Sovereign to plead with 
those whose blood he had shed.' — 'At the time of his 
death, he was so withered,' adds the prior of St. 
Victor, ' that he did not weigh five and twenty 
pounds.' The prophecy of Pdcolat was fulfilled: 
Non videhit dies Petri. Instead of twenty-five years 
the episcopacy of John of Savoy had only lasted nine. 
Geneva was about to change masters. The struggle 
which had characterised the episcopacy of John of 
Savoy could not faU to be renewed if, instead of a 
shepherd, the Genevese received a hireling. Who 
would come off victorious in this new combat? 
Would the old times be maintained ; or, thanks to a 
prelate who understood the wants of the age and 
the nature of the Gospel, should we witness the com- 
mencement of a new era ? There was little hope that 
it would be so. The episcopal see of Geneva, which 
gave the rank of temporal prince, was much coveted 
by nobles, and even, as we have seen, by members of 
the sovereign families. These worldly bishops thought 
only of getting rich and of living in pomp and plea- 
sure, careless of the good government of the Church 
or of feeding their flock. The thrones of such princes 
could not but totter and fall erelong. Pierre de la 

* ' Si perveneris hiiie episcopatui, noli, ore te, gressua meos insequi.'^ 
MMn. du Diociae de Geneve, par Besson, p. 61. Savyon, Annates, p. 108. 


Baume, certain good qualities notwithstanding, could 
not prevent this catastrophe; on the contrary, he 
accelerated it. He had wit and imagination ; but was 
weak, vain, and inclined to the same habits of servi- 
lity as his predecessor, 'incapable,' says an historian, 
' of comprehending any other happiness than sleeping 
well, after he had eaten and drunk well.'* 

The bastard having breathed his last, Pierre, kneel- 
ing by the side of his bed, rose up a bishop. He took 
immediate steps to secure his new property from pil- 
lage, and on the 7th of February, 1522, wrote a letter 
to ' his dearly beloved and trusty syndics, councillors, 
citizens, and community of Geneva,' which gave no 
promise that the reign of truth would be witnessed 
during his episcopacy. He began with the falsehoods 
usual in such cases, and informed the Genevans that 
his predecessor had 'made as holy an end as ever 
prelate did, calling upon his Creator and the Virgin 
Mary with his latest breath.' He reminded them at the 
same time ' of the great love and affection which John 
had felt whUe alive for them and for all his good sub- 
jects.' . . . ' Witness the chestnut-tree at the bridge of 
Arve,' said some.f 

A year elapsed before the new bishop came to 
Geneva. Was it from fear ; or did his temporal 
occupations keep him away? It was probably the 
latter motive. He had to come to an understanding 
with the duke and the pope touching his episcopacy, 
and he visited Eome in order to obtain his briefs. 
At last, on the 11th of April, 1523, his solemn entry 

* GalifFe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. p. xxvi. 
t Ibid. pp. 304, 305. 
u 2 


took place.* A great multitude flocked together 
from all the surrounding districts. The syndics, the 
councillors, and the people went as far as the bridge 
of Arve to meet the bishop, who, accompanied by his 
gentlemen, priests and friends, and having by his 
side the Countess of Montrevel his sister-in-law, the 
Marquis of St. Sorlin his second brother, and two 
of his nephews, advanced ' riding on a mule beauti- 
fully harnessed and gUt, and wearing a green hat, after 
the fashion of the bishops of Rome.' The four syn- 
dics carried a handsome canopy over his head, which 
a pelting rain rendered very necessary. ' More than 
a hundred horses crept at a snail's pace before him.' 
Four companies of archers, arquebusiers, bowmen, 
and spearmen marched by with firm steps. In every 
street of the city ' young men well mounted, equipped, 
and accoutred, rode k I'albanaise.' ; Dramas, fai'ces, 
mysteries, games and pastimes were given in the 
open air in spite of the rain, and the Genevans were 
fuU of hope. It might have been said that this 
branch, so severely shaken and almost separated from 
the Roman papacy, was about to be restored. Geneva, 
by welcoming the bishop so cordially, seemed to be 
welcoming the pope who sent him. This was how- 
ever in the year 1523. Luther had burnt the bull 
from Rome ; he had said before the Diet of Worms, 
/ cannot do otherwise. The Reformation was advan- 
cing with great strides at Wittemberg, and was spread- 
ing over aU Germany. And yet it was just at this 
time that Geneva received a Roman bishop almost 
with enthusiasm ; but if the energetic city should be 

* Eegistres MS. du Conseil; mars et avrU 1523. 


disappointed in its expectations, we shall see it rise 
up against all the framework of Rome and overthrow 
it without leaving a single piece in its place. 

For the moment men indulged in the most flatter- 
ing hopes. La Baume bore a tree (ia German baum) 
on his shield ; the Genevese presented him a poem, 
the first lines of which ran thus : 

But for tMa tree wMch God ha3 planted, 

Geneva would have had no gladness ; 
No branch and no support had I 

To lean upon in time of sadness. 
But God he praised for his good work 

In planting here this goodly tree, 
Beneath whose shade the poor shall dwell 

In peace and unity.* 

These verses are a proof of the pacific intentions 
which the patriots then entertained; for they were 
written by Ami Porral, a most decided huguenot, 
who afterwards became one of the first supporters of 
the Eeformation. The Roman episcopacy did not 
correspond to their hopes ; Porral and his friends soon 
discovered that they must plant another tree in the 
orchard^ the tree of the Gospel, in whose branches the 
birds of the air might come and lodge. A priest re- 
presenting St. Peter, and dressed as a pope, presented 
to the bishop the golden key of his cathedral, and 
the prelate, standing in the church in front of the 
high altar, swore to observe the franchises of the city.f 
But he had scarcely taken this oath before he im- 
prisoned a citizen unlawfully ; and when the syndics 
hmnbly reminded him of their liberties, he exclaimed 

* Gaherel, Hist, de I'Eglise de Genhe. Pieces Justificatives, p. 28. 
t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 388. Begistres du Oonseil des 27 fovrier • 
17 mars ; 9, 10, 11 avril. 


petulantly : ' You always smell of the Swiss.' * How- 
ever, lie set the prisoner at large. 

Between 1519 and 1525 there were few days of 
enei-gy and enthusiasm in Geneva; her liberty was 
expiring, tyranny hovered over the city, a funeral paU 
seemed to hang upon its walls. This was a time of 
bitter trial and depression in the city. In the midst 
of citizens who slumbered, of some who paid court 
to an illegitimate power, and of others who thought 
of nothing but amusement, there were many who 
shed tears over the loss of their glorious hopes. We 
feel iU at ease in Geneva now, and still more iU ia 
the midst of merrymakings than in the midst of trials. 
Would the duke and the bishop really succeed ia 
stifling the new life which animated this little state? 
A great event will arise to give strength to liberty. 
She descended to the tomb with Berthelier, though 
still young ; she will come forth again when, the gates 
of Switzerland opening wide, Geneva shall grasp the 
hand of the ancient champions of independence, and 
receive the words of Him who said : The truth shall 
make you free. 

* ' Vos semper sentitis AUemaiios.' — Gautier MS. 




of the canons and of the huguenots. 
(August 1523.) 

THE duke, seeing that the Genevese commune was 
seriously weakened, had formed new plans for 
definitively seizing the sovereignty, and of expelling 
both liberty and the tendencies towards the Refor- 
mation, with which, according to Charles III. and 
Charles V., this restless city was infected. Magnifi- 
cence, fetes, grandeur, flattery, seduction, and perfidy 
were aU. to be brought into play, and for that end 
Charles possessed new resources. He had j ust married 
Beatrice of Portugal, whose sister was about to be 
united to the Emperor Charles V. Beatrice, a woman 
of great beauty, proud, ambitious, and domineering, 
required everjrthing to bend before her ; Charles, a 
man of no wiU, found one in this princess ; and the 
conspiracy of Savoy against Genevan independence 
entered into a new phase, which threatened to be 
marked by great reverses. After a few months of 
wedlock, the duke expressed a desire to present the 
beautiful duchess to his good friends of Geneva, and 
made preparations for displaying all the pomps and 
seductions of a court in order to win them over. 
And more than this : the duchess expected to be 


brought to bed in December: it was now August 
(1523) ; if she had a boy in Geneva, would not these 
worthy burgesses be happy, nay proud, to have for 
their prince a son of Savoy born within their walls ? 
And would not the child's uncle, the mighty emperor, 
have a word to say then in his favour in that ancient 
imperial city which stUl bore the eagle on its shield? 
Every means was set to work to carry out this court 

The duke had calculated rightly when reckoning 
on republican vanity. Every one was busied in pre- 
paiTng to receive the prince, with his wife and courtiers, 
for the Genevese desired that the pomps of this fete 
should infinitely surpass those of the bishop's recep- 
tion. There were (so to say) two men in these 
citizens : one, tull of lofty aspirations, longed for 
truth and liberty; but the other, full of vanity and 
fond of pleasure, allowed himself to be seduced by 
luxury and the diversions of a court. The duke and 
the bishop would never have succeeded in ruining 
Geneva; but if Geneva united with them, her ruin 
seemed inevitable. All heads wereturned. 'I shall 
be dressed more expensively than you on the day of 
the duchess's entrance,' said Jean de Malbuisson to 
Jean Philippe, afterwards first syndic. Upon which, 
Philippe, one of the proudest huguenots, ordered 
a magnificent dress of satin, taifeta, velvet, and 
silver, which cost him forty-eight crowns of the 
sun. Malbuisson was filled with jealousy and anger, 
and the sjrndics were compelled to interfere to ap- 
pease this strife of vanity.* These vain republicans, 

* Remstres du Conseil du 2 aout. 


charmed at the honour to be done them by the 
daughter of the king of Portugal, wished to strew her 
path with roses. Portugal, governed by the famous 
dynasty of Aviz, renowned by the expeditions of 
Diaz, Vasco de Gama, and Cabral, and by the con- 
quests of Albuquerque, was then overflowing with 
riches, was a naval power of the first order, and was 
at the height of its greatness. It was no small thing 
in the eyes of the burgesses of the city of the Leman 
that the glory, which filled the most distant seas 
with its splendour, should shed a few sparks of its 
brilliancy on the shores of an unknown lake. The 
duke had no doubt that these citizens, so fond of 
pleasure, would quietly submit to the claims which 
beauty laid upon them, and that Geneva would be his. 

At last the 4th of August arrived, and all the city 
hastened to the banks of the Arve to meet the young 
and charming duchess ; the women had the foremost 
place in this Genevese procession. A battalion of 
amazons, composed of three hundred of the youngest 
and most beautiful persons in Geneva, appeared first. 
They wore the colours of the duchess, blue and white ; 
their skirts, as was the fashion with the warlike 
damsels of antiquity, were tucked up to the knee; 
and each one carried in her right hand a javeRn, and 
in her left a small shield. At the head as captain was 
the wife of the Seignior d'Avully, who, being a Spa- 
niard, could speak to the duchess in her own language : 
in the middle was the standard-bearer, 'a tail and 
beautifiil woman, waving the colours like a soldier 
who had done nothing else aU his life.' 

The duchess appeared, seated in a triumphal chariot 
drawn by four horses, and so covered with cloth of 


gold and jewels that all eyes were dazzled. The duke 
rode by her side on a mule richly caparisoned, and a 
multitude of noblemen followed them in magnificent 
attire, smiling and talking to one another : the good- 
humoured simplicity of these republicans charmed 
them. They said that if they had failed with the 
sword, they would succeed with jewellery, feathers, and 
display; and that this rebellious city would be too 
happy, in exchange for the amusements they would 
give, to receive the duke and pay court to the pope. 
Everything had been arranged to make the poison 
enter their hearts by mild and subtle means. The 
triumphal car having halted at Plainpalais, the queen 
of the amazons approached the duchess and said: 

En ce pays soyez la bienvenue ! . . . 

with other verses which we spare the reader. When 
the princess arrived before the chapel of the Rhone, 
where stood an image of the Virgin with the child 
Jesus in her arms, a sibyl appeared and said : 

For thee I liave obtained a boon divine : — 

The Son of God before thine eyes shall shine. . . 

Look up . . . see him to Mary's bosom pressed, 

The Virgin who hath borne him for our rest ; 

With great devotion Mary's son adore, 

And he shall open wide to thee heaven's door. 

The procession passed successively under six tri- 
umphal arches, dedicated to illustrious princesses, 
before each of which Beatrice had to stop and hear a 
new compliment. But it was labour lost : the haughty 
Portuguese woman, far from thanking the ladies, did 
not even look at them ; and when the men came for- 
ward in their turn in those magnificent dresses which 


had cost them so much money and contention, the 
duchess received the shopkeepers with still gi'eater con- 
tempt. A deep feeling of discontent immediately 
replaced the general enthusiasm : ' She takes us for 
her slaves, in Portugal fashion,' exclaimed one of the 
proudest of the huguenots. ' Let us show her that 
we are free men. Come, ladies, I advise you to 
return to your spinning ; and as for us, my friends, 
we will pull down the galleries and destroy the 
theatres.' And then he whispered to one of his neigh- 
bours : ' Better employ our money in fortifying the 
city, and compelling these Savoyards to keep outside. 
You entice them in . . . take care they do not burn 
you in your own straw.' The duke's counsellors 
began to feel alarmed. The mine which they fancied 
had been so skilfuUy dug, threatened to blow them 
all into the air. Yet a few more mistakes of this kind 
and all was lost. . . Some of the courtiers endeavoured 
to excuse the haughty manners of Beatrice by telling 
the citizens: Che eran los costumbres de Po7'tugal. 
' They were the fashions of Portugal.' The duke 
conjured his wife to make an effort to win back their 

Doubts were beginning at that time to be circulated 
concerning the attachment of Geneva to the papacy. 
Charles and his courtiers had heard something of 
this ; and the desire to keep the city in the fold of 
Rome for ever had a great share, as we have remarked, 
in their chivalrous enterprise. The mamelukes and 
the canons, ashamed of these rumours, had prepared 
a mystery-play calculated to make the duke and 

* Mem. cCArcUol. de Geneve, i. p. 191. Bouivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 391. 
Savyou, Annates, p. 111. Spon, Jlid. Gi'iiclv. 


duchess believe that the Genevans thought much 
more of seeking crosses and other relics than of find- 
ing that New Testament so long unknown and about 
which they were talking so much in Germany. Ac- 
cordingly, when the procession arrived at the Place 
du Bourg de Four, they saw a large scaffold, a kind 
of house, open on the side next the spectators, and 
divided into several stories. The triumphal car halted, 
and the people of Geneva who were afterwards to show 
the world another spectacle, began to perform the 
' Invention of the Cross.' 

The first scene represents Jerusalem, where the 
Emperor Constantine and Helena, his mother, have 
arrived to make search for the precious relic. 

Constantine to the Jews. 
Come tell me, Jews, what did you do 
With the cross whereon hy you 
Christ was hanged so cruelly ? 

The Jews, trembling. 
Dear emperor, assuredly 
We do not know. 


You lie. 
You shall suffer for this by-and-by. 

(To his guards.") 
Shut them in prison instantly. 

The Jews are put into prison; and this is a lesson 
to show what ought to be done to those who pay no 
respect to the wood that Helena had come to worship. 

A Jew from tJie window. 

Judas the president am I, 
And if you will let me go 
I by signs most clear will show 
'WTiere my father saw it hid. 



Out then ; we tlie cross ■will seek, 
And ttey stall linger here the while. 

The next scene represents Golgotha. The emperor, 
Helena, and their train follow the Jew. 

Mighty emperor, here 's the spot 
Where the cross by stealth was put 
With other two. 


Let the earth he dug around, 
And the cross be qxiickly found. 

A Labottbee digs up three crosses. 
This is all. 

GoNSTAUTlNB, puzded to know which is the true cross. 

To prove the story true 
Still remains. . . What shall we do ? 


My dear son, pray hold your tongue. 

(She orders a dead body to he brought.') 

To this corpse we will apply 
These thi'ee crosses carefully, 
And, if I be not mistaken, 
At the touch it will awaken. 

(2%e three crosses are applied, and when the third touches the hody it is 
restored to life.) 

wonderful ! 
(Selena takes the true cross in her arms.) 

Const ANiiNE kneels and worships it. 
cross of Christ, how great thy power 1 
In this place I thee adore ; 
May my soul be saved by thee ! 


The croS3 hatli brought to us God's grace, 
The cross doth every sin efface. 
Here 's the proof. . . . 

Thus, therefore, the Genevese believed in the 
miracles worked by the -wood of the cross. How, 
after such manifest proof, should not the world see 
that Geneva was free from heresy ? * 

The procession and the princess resumed their 
march. They stopped before the h6tel-de-ville, and 
there the syndics made Beatrice a present from the city, 
which she received pleasantly according to the lesson 
the duke had given her. However, she could hold 
up no longer : exhausted with fatigue, she begged to 
be conducted to her lodging. They proceeded ac- 
cordingly towards the Dominican convent, where 
apartments had been prepared for the duke and 
duchess. This monastery, situated without the city, 
on the banks of the Rhone, was one of the most 
corrupt but also one of the richest iri the diocese. 
Here they arrived at last, Charles as delighted as 
Beatrice was wearied. ' The flies are caught by the 
honey,' said the duke; 'yet a few more fetes, and 
these proud Genevans will become our slaves.' 

He lost no time, and, full of confidence in the 
prestige of Portugal, the brilliancy of his court, and 
the graces of his duchess, he began to give 'great 
banquets, balls, and fetes.' Beatrice, having learnt 
that it was necessary to win hearts in order to 
Avin Geneva, showed herself agreeable to the ladies, 
and entertained them with 'exquisite viands,' fol- 

* Tliis mystery-play will be found at length in the Memoircs 
d Archiolorjie de Geneve, i. pp. 196-203. 


lowed by ballets, masquerades, and plays. On his 
part the duke organised tournaments with a great 
concourse of noble cavaliers, assembled from all the 
castles of the neighbouring provinces, and in which 
the youth of Geneva contended with the lords of the 
court. 'We have never been so well amused since 
the time of Duke Philibert,' said the young Genevans. 
To the allurements of pleasure Savoy added those of 
gain. The court, which was 'large and numerous,' 
spent a great deal of money in the city, and thus 
induced all those to love it who had given up their 
minds to the desire for riches. Finally the attractions 
of ambition were added to all the rest. To souls thirst- 
ing for distinction Geneva could offer only a paltry 
magistracy, whilst, by yielding themselves to Savoy, 
they might aspire to the greatest honours ; accordingly 
the notables and even the syndics laid themselves at 
the feet of the duke and duchess. ' The prince was 
better obeyed at Geneva than at Chambery,' says 
Bonivard. Everything led the politicians to expect 
complete success. That bold soaring towards inde- 
pendence and the Gospel, so displeasing to the duke, 
the king of France, and the emperor, was about 
to be checked; and those alarming liberties, which 
had slept for ages, but which now aspired after 
emancipation, would be kept in restraint and sub- 

The calculations of the princes of Savoy were not, 
however, so correct as they imagined. A circum- 
stance almost imperceptible might foil them. Whilst 
the cabinet of Turin had plotted the ruin of Geneva, 

* Bonivard, Chrmiiq. ii, p. 395. Savyon, Annales, p. 113. Gautier MS. 


God was watching over its destinies. Shortly before 
the entry of the bishop and the duke, another power 
had arrived in Geneva; that power was the Gospel. 
Towards the end of the preceding year, in October 
and November 1522, Lefevre published his French 
translation of the New Testament. At the same 
time the friends of the Word of God, being persecuted 
at Paris, had taken refuge in different provinces. A 
merchant named Vaugris, and a gentleman named 
Du Blet, were at Lyons, despatching thence mis- 
sionaries and New Testaments into Bui'gundy and 
Dauphiny, to Grenoble and Vienne.* In the six- 
teenth century as in the second, the Gospel ascended 
the Rhone. From Lyons and Vienne came in 1523 
to the shores of Lake Leman that Word of God which 
had once destroyed the superstitions of paganism, 
and which was now to destroy the excrescences of 
Rome. ' Some people called evangelicals came from 
France,' says a Memoir to the Pope on the Rehellion of 
Geneva in the archives of Turin. The names of the 
pious men who fii'st brought the Holy Scriptures to 
the people of Geneva, have been no better preserved 
than the names of the missionaries of the second 
century : it is generally in the darkness of night that 
beacon fires are kindled. Some Genevans ' talked with 
them and bought their books,' adds the MS. Thus, 
while the canons were assisting in the representation of 
time-worn fables, and holding up as an example the 
piety of those who had sought for the cross in the 
bowels of the earth, more elevated souls in Geneva 
were seeking for the cross in the Scriptures. One 

* See my Hist, of the Hcf. vol. iii. bk. xli. chaps. 7 and 11. 


of the first to welcome these biblical colporteurs was 
Baudichon de la Maison-Neuve, a man bold and 
ardent even to imprudence, but true, upright, and 
generous. He was enraptured to find m the Gospel 
the strength he needed to attack the superstitions of 
old times, which filled him with instinctive disgust. 
Eobert Vandel did the same. Syndic in 1529, and 
employed in all the important afi"airs of the time, he 
found in these works which had come from Lyons a 
means of realising his ideal, which was to make Geneva 
a republic independent in rehgion as well as in politics. 
These noble-hearted men and many besides them 
read the Scriptures with astonishnrent. They sought, 
but they could find no Roman religion there — no 
images, no mass, no pope ; but they found an authority 
and power above prelates and councils and pontiffs, 
and even princes themselves — a new authority, new 
doctrine, new life, new church . . . and all these new 
things were the old things which the apostles had 
founded. It was as if the quickenmg breath of spring 
had begun to be felt in the valley after the rigours of 
a long winter. They went out into the open air; 
they basked in the rays of the sun; they exercised 
their benumbed limbs. Priests and bigot laymen 
looked with astonishment at this new spectacle. 
What! they had hoped that the pompous entrance 
of Charles and Beatrice would secure their triumph, 
and now an unknown book, entering mysteriously 
into the city, without pomp, without display, without 
cloth of gold, borne humbly on the back of some 
poor pedlar, seemed destined to produce a greater 
efi'ect than the presence of the brother-in-law of 
Charles V. and of the daughter of the kings of 

VOL. I. X 


Portugal. . . Was the victory to slip from their hands 
in the very hour of success? Was Geneva destined 
to be anything more than a little city in Savoy and 
a parish of the pope's? . . Disturbed at tliis move- 
ment of men's minds, some of the papal agents has- 
tened to wiite to Rome : ' What a singular thing ! 
a new hope has come to these dejected rebels. . . And 
to those books which have been brought from France 
and which they buy of the evangelicals, the Genevans 
look for their enfranchisement.'* 

In fact, the triumph of the duke, the duchess, and 
their court, who had succeeded in leading certain 
Genevans into dissipation and servility, exasperated 
the huguenots : they never met without giving vent, 
as they grasped each other's hands, to some expression 
of scorn or sorrow. Among them was Jean Philippe, 
several times elected captain-general. He was not 
one of those whom the Holy Scriptures had converted : 
he was a rich and generous citizen, full of courage 
and a great friend of liberty; but loving better to 
pull down than to build up, and carrying boldness 
even to rashness. He proposed that they should give 
a lesson to the mamelukes and priests, ' and under- 
took to bear all the expenses.' Other huguenots, 
more moderate, and above all more pious, held it of 
importance to make known the impressions they had 
received ffom the Gospel. The Word of God having 
touched their hearts, they desired to show that it was 
a remedy for all the iQs of humanity. Seeing that 

* Archives de Turin, paquet 14, 1"= cat^gorie. Memoire au Fape sur la 
HSbelUon de Geneve, M. Gaberel, who has examined this memoir, assigns 
it {Hist, de VEglise de Geii&ve, i. p. 84) to the year 1520; but it seems 
to me more probable that it relates to 1523. 


everybody was eager to entertain the duke and 
duchess, they resolved to add their dish also to the 
banquet, seasoning it however with a few grains of 
salt. Instead of the discovery of the cross by Helena, 
they wiU celebrate the discovery of the Bible by the 
Reformation. The subject was not ill-chosen, as it 
brought out strongly the contrast between the old 
and the new times. The huguenots therefore in- 
formed the duke that they were desirous of perform- 
ing a mystery-play in his honour in the open air 
on the Sunday after a certain holiday called Les 
Bordes. Jean Philippe having generously provided 
for all the expenses, the young men learnt their parts, 
and everything was ready for the representation. 

It was fair-time at Geneva, and consequently a 
great crowd of Genevans and strangers soon gathered 
round the theatre : the Bishop of Maurienne arrived ; 
lords and ladies of high descent took their seats ; but 
they waited in vain for the duke, who did not appear. 
' We shall not go, neither the duchess nor myself,' 
he said, ' because the performers are huguenots.' 
Charles, knowing his men well, feared some snake in 
the grass. The huguenot who had composed the 
piece represented the state of the world under the 
unage of a disease^ and the Reformation as the remedy 
by which God desired to cure it; the subject and 
title of his drama was Le Monde Malade, the Sick 
World, and everything was to appear — priests, 
masses, the Bible and its followers. The principal 
character, Le Monde (the World), had heard certain 
monks, terrified at the books which had lately come 
from France, announce that the last days were at 
hand, and that the World would soon perish. It 

X 2 


was to be burnt by fire and drowned by water. . . 
This was too much for him ; he trembled, his health 
declined, and he pined away. The people about him 
grew uneasy, and one of them exclaimed : 

The "World grows weaker every day; 
What lie will come to, who can say ? 

He had however some friends, and each of them 
brought him a new remedy ; but all was useless — the 
World grew worse and worse. He decided then to 
resort to the sovereign universal remedy, by which 
even the dead are saved, namely, masses. The 
Romish worship, assailed by the reformers, was now 
on its trial in the streets of Geneva. , 

The "Woeld. 
Come, Sir Priest, pull out your wares — 
Your masses, let me see them all. 

Priest, delighted to see the World apply to him. 
May God give you joy ! but how 
You like them I should wish to know. 

The Would. 
I like them just as others do. 


The Wobu). 
Yes, short. 

Peiest, shojmng him some masses. 

Then here 's the thing for you. 

The Woeld, refecting thetn loith alarm. 
Than these no seimon can be longer. 

PniESi, showing others. 
Here are others. 

The Would, refusing them. 
No I no ! no 
Pbiest, finding that the World toants imtlim- long nor short masses. 
What you want you do not know. 


Then Le Conseiller (the Counsellor), a wise and 
enlightened man, recommends a new remedy, one 
both harmless and effectual, which is beginning to 
make a great noise. 

What is it, say ? 

asks the World ; the Counsellor answers : 

A thing wliich no man dares gainsay . . . 
The Bible. 

The World does not know what this new medicine 
means: another character strives in vain to inspire 
him with confidence : 

Believe me, Mr. "World, there 's not a fool 
But knows it. 

The World will not have it at any price. It was known 
ah-eady at Geneva in 1523 that the world was giving 
a bad reception to the Gospel : ' They shall say all 
manner of evil against you, and shall persecute you.' 
As he could not be cured by the priests, and would 
not be cured by the Bible, the World called in the 
Doctor (le Medecin)^ and carefully described his 
disease : 

I am so troubled, and teased, and tormented, 
With all the rubbish, tbat they have iuvented . . . 
That flat bere on my bed I lie. 

What rubbish p 

The Woeld. 

That a deluge by-and-by 
Will come, and that a, fire to boot 
Will burn us all both branch and root. 

But the Doctor happens to be (as was often the case 
in the sixteenth century) one of those who believe the 
text of the Bible to be infalhble ; he begins to paint 


the liveliest picture of the disorders of the clergy, in 
order to induce his patient to take the remedy pre- 
scribed for him : 

Wiy are you troutled, Sir World, at that ? 

Do not vex yourself any more 

At seeing these rogues and thieves by the score 

Buying and selling the cure of souls . . . 
Children still in their nurses' aims 
Made ahbots and bishops and priors. . . 

For their pleasure they kill their brothers, 
Squander their own goods and seize another's ; 

To flattering tongues they lend their ear ; 
For the merest trifle they Idndle the flame 
Of war, to the shame of the christian name.* 

The World, astonished at a description so far from 
catholic, becomes suspicious, thinks the language 
heretical, and exclaims : 

. . . Mere fables these : 
From the land of Luthee they came. 

Upon Luther's back men lay the blame, 
If you speak of sin . . . 

At Geneva, therefore, as well as in all the catholic 
■world, Luther was already known as the man who 
laid bare sins. The Doctor did not allow himself to 
be disconcerted by this charge of Lutheranism : 

World, would you like to be well once more F 

The WoRiD, with firmness. 

Then think of abuses what a store 
Are daily committed by great and small. 
And according to law reform them all. 

* The original of this sottie will be fomid in the Memoires (VArcMologie 
de Genhie, pp. 164-180. 


This was demanding a Reformation. The hu- 
guenots {Eidguenots) applauded ; the foreign mer- 
chants were astonished; the courtiers of Savoy, and 
even Maurienne himself, smiled. Still Maison-Neuve, 
Vandel, Bernard, and all those who had ' talked with ' 
the evangelicals, and especially the author of the 
drama, knew the difficulties the Reformation would 
have to encounter in Geneva. 

The World, irritated against these laymen who turn 
preachers, exclaims: 

THa impudent doctor so mild of speech, 
I asked Mm to cure me, not to preach. 
The fool ! 

Another personage, alarmed at so unprecedented 
a thing : 

Good heavens ! it can't he true. 

The "Woeld. 
True enough ; but as for his preaching now, 
I 'd rather be led by a fool, I tow, 
Than a preacher. 

Fbiends oe ihe Wobld. 

That's quite right; 
Live by the rule of your appetite. 

The "Wobid. 
That will I ! ... 

Whereupon the World puts on a fool's dress, and the 
burlesque ends. 

It is too true that the world, after the Reformation, 
put on a fool's dress in various places, particularly in 
France. What was the house of Valois but a house 
of fools ? And yet a divine wisdom had then entered 
the world, and remains in it still, for the healing of 
nations. From the beginning of 1523, the great prin- 


ciple of protestaTitism which declares Scripture to be 
the only source and rule of truth, in opposition to that 
of Roman Catholicism, which substitutes the authority 
of the Church, was recognised in Geneva. The ' text 
of the Bible ' was publicly declared ' an irreproachable 
thing ' and the only remedy for the cure of diseased 
humanity. And what, at bottom, was this burlesque 
of the huguenots but a lay sermon on the text: The 
law of the Lord converteth the soul ? It is good to 
observe the date, as it is generally thought that the 
Reformation did not begin tUl much later ia the 
city of Calvin. This ' mystery ' of a new kind did not 
remain without effect ; the evangelicals had taken up 
their position ; the ram, armed with its head of brass, 
that was to batter and throw down the walls of Rome 
— the infallible Bible, had appeared. Jean Philippe 
felt that the piece had not cost him too dear. 

The stage of the Monde Malade had scarcely been 
pulled down, when the citizens had to think of some- 
thing else besides plays. The Savoyards, who did not 
like the dish served up to them, and thought they smelt 
the poison of heresy in it, resolved to avenge themselves 
by making the weight of their yoke felt. Two words 
comprehend the whole policy of these soldiers and 
courtiers : despotism of the prince, servility of the 
people. They undertook to mould the Genevans to 
their system. With haughty mien and arrogant tone 
they were continually picking quarrels with the citi- 
zens ; they called everything too dear that was sold 
them, they got into a passion and struck the shop- 
keepers, and the latter, who had no arms, were obliged 
at first to put up with these insults. But erelong 
every one armed himself, and the tradesmen, raising 


their heads, crossed swords with these insolent lords. 
There was a great uproar in the city. Irritated at 
this resistance, the grand-master of the court hastened 
to the council: 'The duke and duchess came here,' 
he said, ' thinking to be with Mends.' The council 
ordered the citizens to be arrested who had struck 
the gentlemen, and the Savoyard quarter-master un- 
dertook to lock them up, which the Genevan quarter- 
master resisted. The duke, in a passion, threatened 
to bring in his subjects ' to pillage the place.' There 
was some reason, it must be confessed, to desire a little 
tranquillity. ' The duchess is wUling to do us the 
honour of being brought to bed in this city,' said 
Syndic Baud to the people ; ' please do not make any 
disturbance; and as soon as you hear the bells and 
trumpets, go in procession with tapers and torches, 
and pray to God for her.' 

The 'honour' which the duchess wa,s about to 
confer on Geneva did not affect the Genevans. The 
most courageous citizens, Aim^ L^vrier, John Lullin, 
and others, were superior to all such seductions. 
Faithful interpreter of the law, calm but intrepid 
guardian of the customs and constitutions, L^vrier 
continually reminded the council that Charles was not 
sovereign in Geneva. While avoiding a noisy opposi- 
tion, he displayed unshrinking firmness ; and accord- 
ingly the duke began to think that he could only 
become prince of the city by passing over his body. 
Lullin was not a jurist like L^vrier, but active, practi- 
cal, and energetic ; at every opportunity he manifested 
his love of liberty, and sometimes did so with rudeness. 
Although prior of the confi-aternity of St. Loup, he 
was at the same time landlord of the Bear inn, which. 


according to the manners of those days, was not 
incompatible -with a high position in the city. One day 
when his stables were full of horses belonging to a poor 
Swiss carrier, some richly-dressed gentlemen of Savoy 
alighted noisily before the inn and prepared to put up 
their horses. ' There is no room, gentlemen ! ' said 
Lullin roughly. ' They are the duke's horses,' rephed 
the courtiers. ' No matter,' returned the energetic 
huguenot. ' First come, first served. I would rather 
lodge carriers than princes.' At that time Charles 
was raising six thousand men, to be present in Geneva 
at his child's christening, and the cavaliers probably 
belonged to this body. But the huguenots thought 
it too much to have six thousand godfathers armed 
from head to foot, and it was probably this that put 
LulUn in bad humour. Charles was weak but vio- 
lent; he stamped his foot when told of the insult 
ofi"ered to his servants, cast a furious glance over the 
city, and exclaimed with an oath : ' I will make this 
city of Geneva smaller than the smallest village in 
Savoy.'* Many trembled when they heard of the 
threat, and the council, to pacify the prince, sent 
Lullin to prison for three days. 

At length the great event arrived on which the 
hopes of Savoy reposed. On the 2nd December one 
of the duke's officers informed the syndics that the 
duchess had been delivered at noon of a prince. Im- 
mediately the bells were rung, the trumpets sounded : 
bishop, canons, priests, monks, confi-atemities, boys 
and girls dressed in white and carrying tapers in their 

* 'Minimum villagium su£B pati'iM.' — Eeg. du Conseil, 18 d^cembre. 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 392. 


hands, all walked in long procession. Bonfires were 
lighted in every open place, and the cannons on the 
esplanade (La TreDle) which looks towards Savoy 
announced to that faithful country that the duke had 
a son.* ' As he Avas born in Geneva,' said the cour- 
tiers to one another, ' the citizens cannot refuse him 
for their prince.' f The duchess had the matter very 
much at heart, and erelong, richly apparelled and 
seated in her bed, as was the custom, she would say in 
the frivolous conversations she had with the persons 
admitted to pay their court to her : ' This city is a 
huena posada ' (a very good inn) . The delighted duke 
replied : ' Geneva shall be yours,' which she was very 
pleased to hear.J 

Everything in Geneva and even in Europe seemed 
to favour the designs of Savoy. Charles Y. the duke's 
brother-in-law, and Erancis I. his nephew, were 
preparing for the war in Lombardy. The struggle 
between the pope and Luther occupied men's minds. 
The Swiss were 'in great care and discord, city 
divided against city, and one against another in the 
same city.' Bishop Pierre de la Baume was fickle, 
worldly, fond of gambling, of feasting, of waiting 
upon the ladies, and of pursuing other pleasures 
which diverted him from better occupations. Timid 
and even fearful, changing like a weathercock with 
every wind, he dreaded above all things to lose the 
benefices he possessed in the territory of his Highness. 
AU this permitted Charles — at least he thought so — 

• ' Debandata fuit artilleria in porta Baudet.' — Registers of the Coim- 
cil, Dec. 2. 

t Bonivard, Ckroniq. ii. p. 392. 

I Bonivard, Police de Genive. Mem. iVArcheol. vr. p. 382. 


quietly to invade Geneva and unite it to Savoy -with- 
out Europe's saying a word. To have his hands still 
freer, he persuaded De la Baume that his presence in 
Italy was necessary for the emperor's service.* That 
done, and thinking the fruit ripe and ready to faU, the 
duke and duchess made preparations for striking the 
final blow. They clearly saw the hostile disposition of 
many of the Genevans ; but that was only an additional 
reason for increased exertions. K, now that a prince 
of Savoy was born in Geneva, the duke failed in his 
projects, everything would be lost for many a day. 
The cue was therefore given to all the Savoyard 
nobility. The beauty of their gold pieces dazzled 
the shopkeepers; sports, dinners, baUs, masquerades, 
plays, tournaments, pomp, fineiy, pleasures, luxuries, 
and all the aUui'ements which seduce men (say 
contemporary writers), captivated the worldly and 
particularly the youth. Some few huguenots talked 
loudly of independence ; some old Genevans stiO. 
strove to retain their sons ; some venerable mothers, 
seeing their children setting out for the court dressed 
in their gayest clothes, asked them if they did not 
blush for the old manners of their fathers, — if they 
desired to sell their free souls and become the servants 
of princes ? . . . But all was useless. ' It is like throw- 
ing water on a ball,' said the aflElicted pai'ents ; ' not a 
drop stays there.' — ' What would you have?' replied 
these giddy youths. ' It is stronger than us. As 
soon as the charms of the world appear, our appetites 
carry us away, like runaway horses.' 

The monks did not remain behind in this work of 

* Boni-yaxd, Chroniq. ii. p. 395. Savyon^ Annates, p. 114. 


corruption. On the 20th of May the Dominicans cele- 
brated the Feast of St. Ives, and invited the youth to 
one of those notorious vigils where all sorts of abomi- ' 
nations were practised. The syndics complained in- 
effectually to the vicar-general of the scandalous lives 
(sceleratce vitce) of these friars. ' Go to the convent and 
remonstrate with them,' said this ecclesiastic. And 
when the syndics went there, the prior acknowledged 
that the monks led a dissolute life, but, he added, ' it 
is to no purpose that I speak to them of correction ; 
they answer that, if I do not hold my tongue, they 
will turn me out of the monastery.' * By their vices 
the clergy were digging a gulf beneath then" feet, into 
which they would drag everything — doctrine, worship, 
and Church. All appeared to combine for the enslave- 
ment of Geneva. Neither the emperor, nor the king, 
nor the pope, nor the bishop, nor the Swiss, nor even 
the Genevese themselves, watched over the indepen- 
dence of the city. The living waters of the Gospel 
alone could purify these Augean stables. ' God only 
remained,' said Bonivard; 'but while Geneva slept. 
He kept watch for her.' f 

Geneva was indeed about to wake up. The ener- 
vating dreams of the ' golden youth ' were beginning 
to fade away. Not only those to whom the New Tes- 
tament had been brought, not only the friends of in- 
dependence, but thoughtful men of order and of law 
were going to oppose the duke. A new martyr was 
to fertilise a generous soil with his blood, and prepare 
the final victory of right and liberty. 

* Council Kegisters, May 20 ; June 30 and 23, 1522 ; and July 22, 

t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 395, Gautier MS. 





(Maeoh 1524) 

THERE was one citizen in Geneva who greatly 
embarrassed the duke, and this was Levrier. It 
was neither from pride, resentment, nor envy that he 
resisted the usurpations of the prince, but from an 
ardent love of justice and respect for the old charters 
of liberty. He had less spirit than Berthelier, but 
more gravity; less popularity, but severer manners; 
more prudence, and quite as much courage. He was 
not a declaimer ; he did not, like the energetic PhUi- 
bert or the impetuous Maison-Neuve, make his voice 
heard in the streets : it was in the councils where he 
calmly put forward his inflexible veto. The more 
violent huguenots reproached him with his modera- 
tion ; they said that ' when men are too stiff to yield 
to the breath of persuasion, we must strike them 
heavily with the hammer; and when flaming brands 
are kindling a conflagration everywhere, we must rush 
upon them like a torrent and extinguish them.' But 
Levrier, firm in regard to right, was mild in regard 
to men. An intrepid preserver of the law, he upheld 
it without clamour, but without hesitation or fear. 
Never has there lived, in ancient or in modern re- 


publics, a citizen of whom it could be better said than 
of him: 

Non vultus iustantia tyranni, 
Mente c[iiatit solida.* 

The moment approached when L^vrier would say 
in Geneva for liberty what Luther had lately said in 
Worms for truth: 'I can do no otherwise.' But, less 
fortunate than the monk of Wittemberg, he will hardly 
have uttered these words before he will receive his 
death-blow. These martyrs of liberty at the foot of 
the Alps, who were to be followed in so many different 
places by the martyrs of the Gospel, lit up a new flame 
upon the earth. And hence it is that a grateful pos- 
terity, represented by the pious christians of the New 
World, places a triumphal garland on the humble 
tombs of Berthelier and of L6vrier, as well as of Lu- 
ther and of Calvin. I 

As the office of vidame belonged to the duke, it was 
always through the vidamy that the princes of Savoy 
interfered with the affairs of Geneva ; and accordingly 
they nominated to this post only such men as were 
well known for the servility of their character. The 
duke had replaced the wretched Aymon Conseil by 
the Sieur de Salagine; and when the latter died, he 
nominated Verneau, sire of Rougemont and one of 
his chamberlains, in his place. J ' Oh, oh ! ' said the 
citizens, ' the duke knows his men. If Conseil knew 
so well the sound of his tabor, this man knows it 

* Horace, Odes, bk. iii. 3. 

f ' The Swiss republics first came forward ; and to tbe spirit of tlie 
Reformation, as tbe remote cause, is tbe American Revolution to be itself 
attributed.' — Smytb, Heel. MepuMieanism, p. 102, Boston. 

X Council Registers, Feb. 19, 1524 


better still, and we shall have a pretty dance.' * 
Charles, dissatisfied with the inferior jurisdiction that 
belonged to him, proposed to make the conquest of 
Geneva, and to accomplish it in two movements. By 
the first, he would take possession of all the courts 
of law; by the second, of the sovereignty. And 
then his sojourn in Geneva would have attained its 

By way of beginning, Charles desired that the vi- 
dame should make oath to him and not to the bishop 
— a pretension opposed to the constitution, for in Ge- 
neva the prince of Savoy was only an inferior officer 
of the bishop ; and the duke in this way substituted 
himself for the prince of the city. They were nearly 
giving way, for the Marquis of St. Sorlin, the pre- 
late's brother, iatrusted with the bishop's temporal 
interests while he was in Italy, and even the episcopal 
council, desired to please the duke and grant something 
to so mighty a lord. But that vigilant sentinel Levrier 
immediately placed himseK in the breach. He repre- 
sented to the episcopal council that the bishop was 
not free to sacrifice the rights of the state; that he 
was only the simple administrator, and had to render 
an account ' to the empire, the chapter, the repubhc, 
and posterity.' The vidame was forced to make oath 
to the bishop's representatives, whereupon the irritated 
duke ordered his chamberlain to give an account of his 
office to none but him. Levrier saw that Savoy was 
planting her batteries against Geneva — that the war 
was beginning ; and detennining to save the indepen- 
dence of his country, he resolved to oppose, even at 

• Bomvard, Chroniq. ii. p. 353. 


the risk of his life, the criminal usurpations of the 
foreign prince.* 

The struggle between the duke and the judge 
threatened to become terrible, and could only be 
ended by the death of one of the combatants or the 
expulsion of the other. Everything was favourable 
to the duke. ' Who can hinder him,' said his cour- 
tiers, 'from becoming sovereign of Geneva? — The 
bishop? Although he may make a great fuss, he 
will easily be quieted, for he has benefices without 
number in his Highness's states. — Pope Clement? 
The duke is in alliance with him. — The emperor? 
His marriage with the duchess's sister is in progress. 
— The Swiss League? They are in great anxiety 
about the house of Austria, and they too are divided 
city against city on account of religion. — The people 
of Geneva? The court, by spending its money freely, 
has gained them. — Berthelier? He is dead. — The 
other huguenots ? They were so roughly handled at 
the time of the former enterprise, that they are afraid 
of getting into hot water again. . . What remains to 
prevent the duke from accomplishing his undertak- 
ing? ' — ' There remains but God,' said the patriots.f 

It was Charles's disposition to seek to triumph by 
stratagem rather than by force. In that age princes 
imagined that no one could resist them ; he therefore 
attempted to win over Levrier by means of those fa- 
vours of which courtiers are so greedy. But in order 
to succeed, it was necessary to have a little private 
talk with him away from Geneva and the Genevans. 

* Council Eegistera, Feb. 19, 1524. Levrier, Chrmologie cks Comfes 
de Gsnevois, ii. p. 198. 

t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 395. 
VOL. I. Y 


' What glorious sunsMne ! ' said they one morning at 
the ducal court : ' let us take advantage of this fine 
winter weather to visit the castle of Bonne and 
spend a few days at the foot of the soft and smiling 
slopes of the Voirons mountain.' The duke, the 
duchess, and the court made their prepai-ations, and, 
as a special mark of his good-will, Charles invited 
L6vrier to accompany him. Arrived at this charm- 
ing retreat, surrounded by snow-clad mountains 
gilded by the bright sunshine, the duke led the 
worthy man aside, addressed him in friendly lan- 
guage, and as L^vrier answered with respect, Charles 
profited by what he thought to be a favourable 
moment, and said to him in an insinuating tone: 
' You know that I am sovereign lord of Geneva, and 
that you are my subject.' — ' No, my lord,' immediately 
replied the judge, ' I am not your subject, and you 
are not sovereign of Geneva.' The duke dissembled 
his anger, but L^vrier seeming impatient to return to 
Geneva, Charles allowed him to depart, and as he saw 
that inflexible man disappear, he swore that he should 
pay dearly for his boldness ... at the foot of that 
very mountain, in that very castle where he had 
dared tell the Duke of Savoy that he was not his 

The duke returned, and being resolved to put his 
hand to the task, he communicated to the episcopal 
council, with all suitable precautions, his firm inten- 
tion to assume henceforward the rights of sovereignty . 
Charles knew the weakness, the venality even of the 
prince-bishop's co^mcillors, who were unwilling at 

* Galiffe, Mat4riaux, ii. p. 242. 


any price to displease Savoy. As soon as the report 
of this demand was known in the city, everybody ex- 
claimed against it; they said that the superior juris- 
diction belonged only to the sovereign, and that if the 
duke should obtain it, he would have to take but one 
step more to be recognised as lord of Geneva. The 
weakest thought their independence lost. ' Be easy,' 
said wiser men, ' there is a certain " child of Geneva " 
in the council, who will shut all their mouths.' They 
were not deceived ; determined to oppose an inflexible 
resistance to Charles's demand, Levrier began to 
strengthen the weak, to win over the cowards, and to 
intimidate the traitors. ' Neither the duke nor the 
senate of Savoy,' he said, ' has any authority in Ge- 
neva. The jurisdiction belongs to the city and to its 
head, the bishop : the duke, when within our walls, 
is a vassal, and not a sovereign.' * These bold but 
true words made a deep impression ; Gruet, the vicar- 
episcopal, resolved to join Levrier in defending the 
rights of his master. The opposition was not less 
energetic among the citizens. It was the time for 
nominating sjmdics ; the alarmed huguenots resolved 
to place one of the warmest friends of independence 
among the chief magistrates. They elected Claude 
Richardet, a man of steady principles and decided 
character, 'tall, handsome, powerful, and very choleric,' 
says a chronicle. 

When Charles and his counsellors saw the epi- 
scopal and the popular authorities uniting against 
them, they did not lose heart, but preached openly in 
Geneva the system which the dukes of Savoy had 

* Bonivard, Chromq. ii. p. 395. 
X 2 


long adopted — the necessity of separating Church 
and State. What did it matter if Levrier, and even 
Gruet, the vicar-episcopal, made a show of defending 
the bishop's temporal rights ? — the duke believed that 
Pierre de la Baume would be found tractable. The 
most advanced huguenots desired to have a free 
church in a free state ; but the duke wanted a church 
enslaved by the pope in a state enslaved by the duke. 
' Let the bishop keep his clerical authority,' said the 
ducal ofScers, who were irritated by the opposition of 
the episcopal officers ; ' let him keep his amulets, 
chaplets, and all such wares; let his parishioners in- 
dulge, some in sensuality, others in mortifications ; let 
them, with all the monks, black, white, and grey, de- 
bauchees, gamblers, inquisitors, mountebanks, flagel- 
lants, women of lewd life, and indulgence-sellers, go 
on a pilgrimage to Loretto, to St. James of Compos- 
teUa, to Mecca if the bishop likes . . . well and good 
. . . that is the priests' department, and we abandon 
it to them. But the civil power belongs to the laity ; 
the courts of secular justice, the municipal liberties, 
and the command of the troops ought to be in the 
hands of a secular prince. Souls to the bishop, body 
and goods to my lord of Savoy ! ' This great zeal for 
the sepai'ation of the religious from the political order 
had no other object than to satisfy the ambition of 
Savoy. But Geneva profited by these interested homi- 
lies, and emancipated herself even beyond Charles's 
wishes. Yet a few more years, and this city will 
be enfi'anchised fi'om both kinds of despotism. The 
temporal and spiritual power will be taken from the 
hands of the bishop nominated by Rome ; and wlule 
the former will be restored to the hands of the 


citizens, the latter will be in the hands of the Head 
of the Church and of his Word of truth. 

The day after the election, the duke held a grand 
reception. The new syndics came to pay their re- 
spects to him; Gruet, the vicar, and other episcopal 
officers were present. Charles on a sudden unmasked 
his battery : ' Mr. Vicai', I have heard that the epi- 
scopal officers of this city iaterfere in profane mat- 
ters ; I mean to reform this abuse ; the State and the 
Church are two distinct spheres. Hitherto my officers, 
the vidames, have not had sufficient power.* Having 
recently nominated one of my chamberlains to this 
post, a man much esteemed and of good repute, the 
noble Hugh de Rougemont, I shall no longer permit 
the bishop to interfere in civil causes.' The vicar, 
who had been prepared by L^vrier for this attack 
and remembered the lesson well, made answer : ' Your 
Highness is aware that my lord of Geneva is both 
bishop and prince; he possesses the two jurisdic- 
tions in this city.' The irascible duke, who did 
not expect any opposition from a vicar, grew angry : 
' I intend that it shall be so no longer,' he con- 
tinued ; ' and if the bishop pardons when my vidame 
has condemned, I will hang up with their lettei's 
of grace all to whom he grants them.' Every- 
body trembled. The pusiUanimous vicar held his 
tongue, while the syndics endeavoured to pacify the 
prince, although at the same time backing up Gruet's 
remarks. Then the courtiers of Savoy came forward, 
and, playing the part that had been assigned them in 

* ' Oum non essent magnae faciiltatis.' — Eegistres du Conseil du 9 
Urnet 1524. 


this wretched comedy, magnified the favours -which 
the duke would heap on the city. There would be 
signal advantages for commerce, merchandise at half 
price, great rejoicings, magnificent feasts, f^te after 
fete for the ladies of the city,* graceful and friendly 
combats in presence of their highnesses, dances and 
tournaments, f Geneva would become a little paradise. 
The duke was such a good prince, what foUy to 
reject him! Notwithstanding aU this coaxing, the 
huguenots thought to themselves that the prince's 
mule, be he ever so richly harnessed, none the less 
carries a saddle that galls him. 

The duke took counsel again. He thought he had 
made an important step at the time of the syndics' 
reception. He had now resided eight months in 
Geneva, as if he had no other capital ; now or never 
he must realise the hereditary schemes of his family. 
He must hurry on the conclusion, and with that view 
get rid of the obstacle. That obstacle was Levrier. 
This Mordecai, who refused to bow before him, 
thwarted the projects of Turin and exasperated the 
weak Charles and the haughty Beatrice. All the 
courtiers rose against him : they hesitated no longer. 
Sometimes bold strokes are necessary, and MachiaveUi 
had taught the princes of Italy what was to be done 
in such cases. They thought that the annexation of 
Geneva to Savoy was of too great importance not to 
require the sacrifice of a victim. This man was as a 
rock in their path, obstructing their advance : it was 

• 'De festinationibus factia dominabus civitatis.' — Council Registers, 
Feb. 9, 1524. 

t * De recoUuctione graciosa et amicabili sodalium in tripudiis.' — ^Ibid. 


necessary to remove it. Levrier's death, was decided 

The bishop's council, which was regarded by the 
episcopalians as the sovereign council, was summoned 
to appear before the duke; aU the members, except 
L6vrier, attended. The episcopal councillors had 
hardly entered Charles's presence, ' when, unable to 
contain himself, he waxed very wi'oth.' ' Do you 
presume,' he exclaimed, ' to disobey my orders ? ' 
Then by his gestures, indicating his cruel intentions, 
he addressed them in such savage language ' as to 
put them in fear of their lives.' The councillors, who 
were almost frightened to death, ' then did like the 
stag, which (says a chronicle) casts his horns to the 
dogs in order to save himself.' * ' My lord,' they 
said, 'it is not our fault; it is L^vrier that has done 
it aU ; he maintains stoutly that Monsieur of Savoy 
has no authority in Geneva.' Whereupon the duke, 
pretending not to know him, exclaimed: 'What! 
another Levrier in my path ! Why his father opposed 
the surrender of the artillery of Geneva to me in 
1507 ! Bring the son here 1 ' The judge's colleagues 
consented, provided the duke would engage on his 
side to do him no injury, which Charles promised. 

Levrier knew that his life was at stake, and eveiy- 
body advised him to leave Geneva ; but he resolved 
not to go out of his way. Two days after the 
first conference, the episcopal council, accompanied 
by Levrier, appeared again before the duke, who 
had scarcely caught sight of him, when, fiercely 
scowling at them, he said : ' There are some of you 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 401. 


who say that I am not sovereign of Geneva.' ... He 
stopped short, but finding that they all remained 
silent, he continued: 'It is one Ldvrier.' . . . Then 
fixing his angry eyes upon him, he called out with 
a threatening voice : ' Is that fellow L6vrier here ? ' 
Consternation fell upon all the spectators : ' they 
huddled together, but said not a word.' Charles, 
who knew L6vrier very well, observing that terror 
had so far answered, repeated in a still louder tone : 
'Is that fellow L^vrier here?' — The judge modestly 
stepped forward and said calmly : ' Here I am, my 
lord.' The duke, whom such calmness irritated still 
more, burst out : ' Have you not said that I am not 
sovereign of Geneva?' — 'My lord,' he answered, 'if 
I have said anything, it was in the council, where 
every one has the right to speak fi?eely. You ought 
not to know of it, and I ought not to be molested about 
it.' — ' Go,' said the duke, not heeding this just re- 
mark, ' prepare to prove to me within three days that 
what you say is true. Otherwise I will not answer 
for your life . . . wherever I may be. Leave my 
presence ! ' * And they all went out. 

' L^vrier departed in great trouble,' said Bonivard. 
The death with which he was threatened was inevi- 
table. There were plenty of authentic acts, the 
Franchises in particular, by which he could prove 
that the duke possessed no authority in Geneva ; but 
many of these documents were in the hands of the 
canons, devoted to the duke ; and the syndics refiised 
to lay before the prince such as were in their care, 
for fear he should throw them into the fire. It is 

* Bonivai-d, Chroniq. ii. p. 402. Gautier MS. Spon, Hist, de Geneve, &c. 


not improbable that such was Charles's intention 
when he called for them.* ' He has set a condition 
upon my life,' said L^vrier, ' which it is impossible to 
fulfil. . . Do what I may, there is nothing left for me 
but to die.' 

His friends wished to save him at all hazards. 
Bonivard, who was less courageous than L^vrier, and 
under similar circumstances had taken to flight, con- 
tinually reverted to the subject : ' There is no escape,' 
he said, ' except you leave the country.' But L^vrier 
was not to be moved. Faithful preserver of the 
ancient customs, he was determined to oppose the 
usurpations of Savoy to the very last. According to 
the Genevese, St. Peter — they did not mean the 
pope — was the prince of their city. Had they not 
the key of this apostle in their escutcheon ? Levrier 
replied to the entreaties of his friends, and especially 
of Bonivard : ' I would rather die for the liberty of the 
city and for the authority of St. Peter, than confess 
myself guUty by deserting my post.' The prior of 
St. Victor was greatly distressed at the answer. He 
insisted, he conjured his friend, but all to no purpose. 
' Is it imprudence on his part ? ' said he then. ' Is it 
envy that urges him to be the rival of Berthelier ? Is it 
that he desires to be a champion of the commonwealth 
at the price of his blood? I know not what motive 
impels him ; but be it what it may, he will no longer 
confide in our advice.' Levrier, indeed, went about 
just as before, even after the term (three days) pre- 
scribed by the duke ; he waited tranquilly for the blow 
to fall upon him.f 

* Bonivaid, C'hroniq. ii. p. 403. Gautier MS. 
t Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 403. 


Charles the Good — such is the name he bears in 
the history of Savoy — was plotting the death of this 
just man. His steward and favourite, the Sieur de 
BeUegarde, was an enemy of L^vrier's, and aU the 
more violent because he had long been his friend. The 
prince and his steward deliberated over the means 
best calculated to make away with him. At Geneva 
it seemed impossible; and as a second edition of 
Berthelier's death was out of the question, it became 
necessary to draw L^vrier into some lonely spot, where 
he might easily be put to death. BeUegarde undertook 
to carry him off, and the duke ordered him to be 
brought to the castle of Bonne, where L^vrier had 
dared to say him No! BeUegarde came to an under- 
standing with some Savoyard gentlemen, and being 
informed that on Saturday, the 12th of March, the 
judge would attend mass as usual in the cathedral of 
St. Pierre, the steward arranged with these infamous 
courtiers that they should lie in ambush near the 
church, and seize him as he came out. 

Everything was prepared for the ambuscade. The 
person who should have prevented it, and the person 
who commanded it, both left the city. The cowardly 
Marquis of St. Sorlin, who, as representative of the 
bishop, ought to have defended L^vrier, having ' smelt 
the wind,' went out to RumUly, where he amused him- 
self with some ladies whUe men were preparing to MU 
the defender of his brother's rights. Charles did pretty 
nearly the same. The appointed day having arrived 
(it was the eve of the Sunday before Easter 1524), 
this prince, poor in courage, trembling at the idea of 
the daring deed about to be attempted, fearing lest 
the people should rise and come to his residence 

CHAP, xxiii. LiVBIER SEIZED. 331 

and demand the just man about to be torn from them, 
stealthily quitted his apartments in the lower part of 
the city near the Rhone, ' went out by a back door,' 
crossed the lonely meadows which the Arve bathes 
with its swift waters, and ' retired with his family to 
Our Lady of Grace, pretending that he was going 
there to hear mass.' This church being near the bridge 
of Arve, the duke, in case a riot should break out, 
would only have to cross the bridge to be in his 
own territory. Having thus provided for his own 
safety, he waited in great agitation for the news of 
his victim. 

Mass was over in the cathedral, the priest had 
elevated the host, the chants had ceased, and L^vrier 
quitted the church. He wore a long camlet robe, 
probably his judicial gown, and a beautiful velvet 
cassock. He had hardly set foot outside the ceme- 
tery (the site is now occupied by the hall of the 
Consistory) when BeUegarde and his friends, sur- 
rounding him with drawn swords, ' laid their hands 
roughly upon him ; and Bressieu, the most violent of 
them, struck him so severely on the head with the 
pommel of his sword,' that he was stunned. There 
was not a moment to lose, lest the people should rise. 
Some of the gentlemen armed cap-k-pie went in front, 
others came behind, and they dragged the prisoner 
rapidly to Plainpalais, where all had been got ready 
to complete the abduction. L^vrier was put upon a 
wretched horse, his hands were tied behind his back, 
his legs were fastened below the belly of his steed; 
and the escort set off full gallop for the castle of 
Bonne, where he had formerly dared to deny that the 
duke was sovereign of Geneva. 


On they went, the horsemen loading L^vrier with 
abuse : ' Huguenot, rebel, traitor ! ' But in the midst 
of these insults the judge, pinioned like a murderer, 
remained calm and firm, and endured their indignities 
without uttering a word. He was grieved at the in- 
justice of his enemies, but as he thought of the cause 
for which he suflfered, joy prevailed over sorrow. He 
had been accustomed all his life to struggle with 
affliction, and now that 'the cross was laid on his 
shoulders,' it was easier for him to bear it. ' To give 
his life for right and liberty,' said a contemporary, 
' afforded him such great matter for joy as to coun- 
terbalance all sadness.' The ferocious, cruel, and 
passionate Bellegarde, who hated this just man more 
than he had loved him when both were young, kept 
his eyes fixed on him : an obstacle appeared, his horse 
reared, and BeUegarde fell ; it was thought that he had 
broken his leg. There was great confusion ; they all 
stopped. Some men-at-arms alighted, picked up the 
steward, and placing him on his horse, the escort con- 
tinued their way, but at a foot-pace. They still went 
on, and as they advanced, the magnificent amphitheatre 
formed to the south by the Alps spread out more grandly 
before them. To the left eastward the graceful slopes 
of the Voirons extended as far as Bonne ; a little further 
on was seen the opening of the valley of Boege, 
and further still the Aiguille Vei'te and other 
glaciers, and then much nearer the Mole proudly 
raised its pyramidal form ; immediately after, but 
in the distance, Mont Blanc rose majestically above 
the clouds, and the mountains of the Bornes, 
running towards the west, completed the picture, 
licvrier's escort, after descending into a valley, came 


in sight of the castle of Bonne, seated on a lofty crest 
and commanding the landscape ; they climbed the 
steep road leading to it, and drew near the castle, 
leaving below them a narrow ravine, at the bottom of 
which rolls the torrent of Menoge. At last the old 
gates were thrown back, they entered the court, and 
Levrier was handed over to the governor, who shut 
him up in a dark cell. As soon as Charles learnt 
that all had passed off well, he quitted his retreat 
and returned joyful to his lodging. He was confident 
that no human power could now deprive him of his 

During this time the city was in great agitation. 
Men described with consternation the kidnapping of 
the heroic defender of Genevese independence, and all 
good citizens gave vent to their indignation. The 
deed was an insult to the laws of the state— it was an 
act of brigandage ; and hence two sentiments equally 
strong — love for Levrier and respect for right — moved 
them to their inmost souls. The council assembled 
immediately. ' About an hour ago,' said Syndic La 
Fontaine, a zealous mameluke, 'Aim6 Levrier was 
seized by the duke's orders, and carried to Plainpalais.' 
' Yes,' exclaimed several patriots, ' the duke is keeping 
him in the Dominican convent ; but we know how to 
get him out of that den.' ' Eesolved,' say the Minutes, 
' to consider what steps are best to be taken under the 
circumstances.' When they heard that Levrier had 
been carried from Plainpalais to Savoy, the syndics 
went in a body to the bishop's vicar, and required him 
to convene the episcopal council, and to lay before 

* Gautier MS. in loco. Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 406. Spon, Hist, de 
Oenive, i. p. 367, Savyon, Anncdes, pp. 117, 118. 


it this unprecedented act of violence. Nobody doubted 
that the duke would yield to the remonstrances made 
to him. Gruet promptly summoned the members of 
the bishop's council; but these venal men, devoted 
to the duke, refused to appear. The next day, the 
syndics made another attempt. ' Since your colleagues 
forsake you,' said they to the vicar-episcopal, ' go to 
his Highness yourself, and make him understand that 
he is trampling under foot both the sovereignty of the 
bishop and the liberties of the citizens.' Gruet was 
timid, and to appear alone before this powerful noble 
terrified him ; he applied to two of his colleagues, 
De Veigy and Grossi, begging them to accompany him ; 
but they refiised. 'I will not go alone,' exclaimed 
the frightened man, ' no . . . not at any price ! The 
duke would kidnap me like Ldvrier.' Charles's violent 
proceeding struck terror into aU those who enjoyed 
the privilege of free access to him. Nevertheless 
Geneva was in danger. If the most respected of its 
citizens were put to death and no one took up their de- 
fence, there would be nothing sacred from the Savoy- 
ard tyrant. L^vrier's death might be the death of the 
republic. What was to be done ? They remembered 
one person, the bishop of Maurienne, who was both 
a friend of the city and a friend of the duke. The 
cold La Fontaine and the impetuous Richardet 
hastened to him : ' Save L^vrier, or we are all lost ! ' 
they said. The prelate, who was fond of mediating, 
and knew very well that he had nothing to fear, im- 
mediately waited upon his Highness.* 

Charles was not a hero; the emotion of the people 

* Eegisti'es du Oonseil du 13 mars 1524, MS. 


disturbed him, the energy of the patriots startled him. 
He determined to make an advantageous use of his 
perfidy by proposing an exchange: he would spare 
L^vrier's blood, but Geneva must yield up her liberties. 
' Go,' he said to Maurienne, ' and tell the syndics and 
councillors of Geneva that, full of clemency towards 
them, I ask for one thing only : let them acknowledge 
themselves my subjects, and I will give up L^vrier.' * 
The Savoyard bishop carried this answer to the syn- 
dics, the syndics laid it before the council, and Charles 
calmly awaited the result of his Machiavellian plot. 

The deliberations were opened in the council of 
Geneva. When there are two dangers, it is generally 
the nearest that afifects us most: every day has its 
work, and the work of the day was to save Ldvrier. 
The ducal courtiers flattered themselves with the 
success of this well-laid plot. But the citizens, in this 
supreme hour, saw nothing but their country. They 
loved Charles's victim, but they loved liberty more ; 
they would have given their lives for L^vrier, but 
they could not give Geneva. ' What ! acknowledge 
ourselves the duke's subjects ! ' they exclaimed ; ' if 
we do so, the duke will destroy our liberties for 
ever.f L^vrier himself would reject the proposal with 
horror.' — ' To save the life of a man,' they said one to 
another in the council, ' we cannot sacrifice the rights of 
a people.' They remembered how Curtius, to save his 
country, had leapt into the gulf; how Berthelier, to 
maintain the rights of Geneva, had given his life on the 
banks of the Rhone ; and one of the citizens, quoting 
the words of Scripture, exclaimed in Latin: '■ Expedit 

* Eegistres du Conseil du 13 mais 1524, MS. 
t Ibid, 


ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et nan tota gens 
per eat. ^* 'The dulce calls for blood,' they added: 
' let him have it ; but that blood will cry out for ven- 
geance before God, and Charles will pay for his crime.' 
The council resolved to represent to the duke, that by 
laying hands on L^vrier he robbed the citizens of their 
fi-ancldses and the prince of his attributes. Maurienne 
carried this answer to his Highness, who persisted in 
his cruel decision : ' I must have the liberties of Ge- 
neva or Levrier's life.' 

During these official proceedings, certain noble- 
hearted women were greatly agitated. They said to 
themselves that when it is necessary to touch the heart, 
the weaker sex is the stronger. It was well known that 
the haughty Beatrice governed her husband ; that she 
loved the city, its lake and mountains ; that everything 
delighted her in this ' buena posadaJ The ladies who 
had danced at her balls, and found her all condescen- 
sion, went on Sunday morning to the ducal residence, 
and, with tears in their eyes, said to her : ' Appease 
his Highness's wrath. Madam, and save this good man.' 
But the Portuguese princess, faithful to her policy as 
to her pride, refused her mediation. She had hardly 
done so, when her conscience reproached her ; after 
that refusal, Beatrice found no pleasure in Geneva ; 
and before long, leaving the duke behind her, she 
went all alone ' beyond the mountains.'! 

Moreover it would have been too late. On Sunday 
morning, the 11th of March, three men were in 

* John xi. 50 : 'It is expedient for us tliat one man should die for 
the people, and that the whole nation perish not.' 

t Bonivard, Police de Genive. M4m. (tArcMol. y. p. S82. Spon, JSist. 
de Geneve, i. p. 367. Savyon, Annales, p, 118. 


consultation at the castle of Bonne, and preparing 
to despatcli L^vrier. They were Bellegarde, suffi- 
ciently recovered from his fall to discharge his com- 
mission and simulate a trial ; a confessor intrusted 
to set the accused at peace with the Church; and 
the executioner commissioned to cut off his head. 
His Highness's steward, who had received instruc- 
tions to have it over ' in a few hours,' ordered the 
prisoner to suffer the cord — ' nine stripes,' says Michel 
Roset : ' not so much from the necessity of questioning 
him,' adds Bonivard, ' as from revenge.' This ducal 
groom (we mean Bellegarde) felt a certain pleasure 
in treating unworthily a magistrate the very repre- 
sentative of justice. ' Have you no accomplices who 
conspired with you against my lord's authority ? ' said 
he to L^vrier, after the scourging. ' There are no 
accomplices where there is no crime, ''replied the noble 
citizen with simplicity. Thereupon the Savoyard pro- 
vost condemned him to be beheaded, ' not because he 
had committed any offence,' say the judicial docu- 
ments, but because he was ' a lettered and learned 
man, able to prevent the success of the enterprise of 
Savoy.' * After delivering the sentence, Bellegarde 
left Levrier alone. 

He had long been looking death in the face. He 
did not despise life, like Berthelier ; he would have 
liked to consecrate his strength to the defence of 
right in Geneva ; but he was ready to seal with his 
blood the cause he had defended. ' Death will do me 
no evil,' he said. He called Berthelier to mind, and 
the lines written on that martyr of liberty being 

* Galiffe, MaUrimix pour VHistoire cle Gmhve, ii. p, 243, 
VOL. I. Z 


engraved in his memory, Ldvrier repeated them aloud 
in his gloomy dungeon, and then approaching the 
waU, he wrote with a firm hand : 

Quid mi'Tii mora nocuit ? . . . 

'Yes, ' said he, ' death will kill my body and stretch 
it lifeless on the ground; but I shall live agaia; 
and the life that awaits me beyond the grave cannot be 
taken from me by the sword of the cruellest tyrant.' 
He finished the inscription he had begun, and wrote 
on the prison wall : 

. . . Virtus post fata virescit ; 
Nee cruce nee ssevi gladio perit ilia tyraimi. 

But he thought not of himself alone; he thought upon 
Geneva; he reflected that the death of the defenders 
of liberty secured its victory, and that it was by this 
means the holiest causes triumphed, 

Et qu'un sang prScieux, par martyie espandu, 
A la eause de Dieu servira de semence. 

Shortly after BeUegarde's departure the confessor 
entered, discharged his duty mechanically, uttered 
the sentence: Ego te absolvo — and withdrew, show- 
ing no more sympathy for his victim than the provost 
had done. Then appeared a man with a cord : it was 
the executioner. It was then ten o'clock at night. 
The inhabitants of the little town and of the 
adjacent country were sleeping soundly, and no one 
dreamt of the cruel deed that was about to cut short 
the fife of a man who might have shone in the first 
rank in a great monarchy. Bellegarde had no cause 
to fear that he would be disturbed in the accomplish- 
ment of his crime ; stiU he dreaded the light ; there 
was in his hardened conscience a certain uneasiness 
which alarmed him. The headsman bound the noble 


L^vrier, armed men surrounded him, and the martyr 
of law was conducted slowly to the castle yard. All 
nature was dumb, nothing broke the silence of that 
funereal procession ; Charles's agents moved like 
shadows beneath the ancient walls of the castle. The 
moon, which had not reached its first quarter, was 
near setting, and shed only a feeble gleam. It was 
too dark to distinguish the beautiful mountains in the 
midst of which stood the towers whence they had 
dragged their victim ; the trees and houses of Bonne 
were scarcely visible ; one or two torches, carried by 
the provost's men, alone threw light upon this cruel 
scene. On reaching the middle of the castle yard, 
the headsman stopped and the victim also. The 
ducal satellites silently fonned a circle round them, 
and the executioner prepared to discharge his office. 
Levrier was calm : the peace of a good conscience 
supported him in this dread hour. He thought of 
God, of law, of duty, of Geneva, of liberty, and of the 
legitimate authority of St. Peter, whom, in the sim- 
plicity of his heart, he regarded as the sovereign of 
the city. It was really the prince-bishop whom he 
thus designated, but not wishing to utter the name of 
a prelate whom he despised, he substituted that of 
the apostle. Alone in the night, in those sublime 
regions of the Alps, surrounded by the barbarous 
figures of the Savoyard mercenaries, standing in that 
feudal court-yard, which the torches illumined with 
a sinister glare, the heroic champion of the law raised 
his eyes to heaven and said : ' By God's grace I die 
without anxiety, for the liberty of my country and 
the authority of St. Peter.' The grace of God, liberty, 
authority — these main principles of the greatness of 

z 2 


nations were his last confession. The words had 
hardly been uttered when the executioner swung 
round his sword, and the head of the citizen roUed in 
the castle yard. Immediately, as if struck with fear, 
the murderers respectfully gathered up his remains, 
and placed them in a coffin. ' And his body was laid 
in earth in the parish church of Bonne, with the 
head separate.' At that moment the moon set, and 
black darkness hid the stains of blood which Levrier 
had left on the pavement of the court-yard.* ' Ca- 
lamitous death,' exclaims the old Citadin de Geneve^ 
' which cost upwards of a nulhon of Savoyard hves 
in the cruel wars that followed, in which no one re- 
ceived quarter, because the unjust death of Levrier 
was always brought forward.' f There is considerable 
exaggeration in the number of Savoyards who, ac- 
cording to this writer, expiated Ldvrier's murder by 
their death. The crime had other consequences — 
and nobler ones. 

Moral victories secvu'e success more than material 
victories. Over the corpses of Berthelier and Levrier 
we might give a christian turn to the celebrated say- 
ing : ' It is the defeated cause that is pleasing to God.' 
The triumph of brute force in the castle of Bonne and 
in front of Caesar's tower agitated, scandalised, and ter- 
rified men's minds. Tears were everywhere shed over 
these two murders. . . But patience ! These bloody 
' stations ' wiU be found glorious ' stations ' leading 

* The castle of Bonne is only an tour and a halfs drive from Geneva. 
To enter the ruins you must pass through the rooms of a peasant who 
lives within the walls. 

f Bouivard, Ckroniq. ii. pp. 408-412. Michel Reset, Chron. MS. liv. ii. 
ch. ii. Spon, Hist, de Genhie, ii. p. 368. ie Citadin de Geneve, pp. 313, 314. 
Gautier MS. 


to the summit of right and liberty. A book has 
been written telling the history of the founders of 
religious liberty. I may be deceived, but it appears 
to me that the narrative of the struggles of the first 
huguenots might be entitled : History of the founders 
of modern liberty. My consolation when I find my- 
self called upon to describe events hitherto unknown, 
relating to persons unnoticed until this hour, and 
taking place in a little city or obscure castle, is, that 
these facts have, in my opinion, a European, a uni- 
versal interest, and belong to the fundamental prin- 
ciples of existing civilisation. Berthelier, L^vrier, 
and others have hitherto been only Genevese heroes ; 
they are worthy of being placed on a loftier pedestal, 
and of being hailed by society as heroes of the human 

The haste with which the victim had been sacri- 
ficed, the remote theatre of the crime, the hour of 
night that had been chosen, all show that Charles had an 
uneasy conscience. He soon discovered that he had 
not been mistaken in his fears. The indignation was 
general. The men of independence took advantage 
of the crime that had been committed to magnify the 
price of liberty. ' A fine retui'n,' they said, ' for the 
honom'S we have paid Monsieur of Savoy and his 
wife!' Though then' anger broke out against the 
duke, the bishop had his share of their contempt. 
The reflection that he had permitted his fi^iends to be 
sacrificed on one side of the Alps while he was amus- 
ing himself on the other, shocked these upright souls. 
' A pretty shepherd,' they said, 'who not only aban- 
dons his flock to the wolves, but the faithfiil dogs also 
that watch over it ! ' They were disgusted with 


priestly government : some citizens even went so far 
as to say : ' We had better grant Monsieur of Savoy 
his request, than let ourselves be murdered for a 
prelate who gives us no credit for it. If the duke 
takes away certain things, he will at least guarantee 
the rest ; while the bishop devours us on one side and 
lets us be devoured on the other.'* They concluded 
that ecclesiastical principalities only served to ruin 
their subjects — at Geneva as weU. as at Rome. 
Liberals and ducals held almost the same language. 
The temporal power of the bishop was a worm-eaten 
building that would tumble down at the first shock. 

When the news of the murder at Bonne was heard 
among the young worldlings who frequented the 
court, they were aghast, and a change came over 
them. AU that the duke had done to win them, the 
splendid entertainrhents, the graces of the duchess, the 
charms of her ladies, were forgotten. In the baU-room 
they could see nothing but Death leaning on his scythe 
and with hollow eyes looking round for some new 
victim. Their past pleasures seemed a mockery to 
them. A brilliant representation had taken place: 
on a sudden the curtain fell, the lights were extin- 
guished, and the most enthusiastic spectators, seized 
with terror, hastened to escape far from a place which 
appeared to run with blood. That murder, ' in the 
night by torchlight, put all the city in great alarm,' 
says a chronicler. 

Amid all these cries of indignation, of contempt, of 
terror, there was a small group of firm men who saw 
the dawn of liberty piercing through the darkness of 

* Bonivard, Clirotiiq. ii. p. 410. Savyon, Annedes, p. 119. 


crime. The generous spirits who had received the 
Divine Word from France — Porral, Maison-Neuve, 
Vandel, Bernard, even Bonivard — took courage in 
their tears. ' One single obstacle will check the dulce,' 
they said, ' and that obstacle is God ! God desires by 
means of the duke to chastise Geneva, not destroy it. 
The stripes that he inflicts are not for its death, but 
for its improvement. Yes ! God, after punishing us 
with the rod of a father, will rise with the sword in 
Ins hand against those whose crimes he appears to 
permit.' * 

Charles, perceiving the eflfect produced by the out- 
rage he had committed, felt ill at ease at Geneva, 
Nor was that all ; for, learning that a numerous 
French army was entering his states on one side, 
while the imperial army was advancing on the other, 
and that a terrible meeting might ensue, he alleged 
this motive for returning to Turin. Wishing, how- 
ever, to secure his authority in Geneva, he sent for 
Hugues, whose patriotism he feared, reminded him of 
the scene just enacted at Bonne, and required him 
to promise, upon oath, that he would not take part 
in the affairs of the city. Hugues entered into the 
required engagement, f Then Charles hastened to 
depart, and Bonivard said, with a meaning smile: 
' The duchess having crossed the Alps, the duke 
hastens after her — like a good little canary.' J 

The Genevans breathed at last : the city was 

* Koset MS. Chroniq. liv. ii. ch. ii. Gautier MS. Bonivard, Chroniq. 
ii. p. 411. 

t Eegistres du Conseil des 7, 8 et 12 fevrier. 

X 'Un bontarin (serin).' Bonivard^ Po&'ce (fe Geneve. Mhn. SArcMol. 
V. p. 383. 


without either duke or bishop. L^vrier's martyrdom, 
which had at first crushed them, now inflamed their 
courage. As a steel blade long bent returns back 
with a spring, so Geneva, suffering under a blow that 
seemed as if it would destroy her, rose up with energy. 
More than this; the empty place was soon filled. 
Help would come from heaven. The ancient imperial 
and episcopal city, not content with having set aside 
bishops and dukes, would within a few years place on 
the throne Him who exalteth nations. Then, ' dwell- 
ing in the shadow of the. Almighty,' and sitting tran- 
quilly at the foot of her beautiful mountains, Geneva 
will raise her head, crowned with a twofold liberty.* 

* Berenger, Hist, de Gmive. L^vrier, Chron. des Comtes de Savoie, ii. 
p. 214. 



WITH AN army; flight OP THE PATRIOTS. 


THE duke had no sooner departed than there was 
a general burst of indignation against him, and 
against the mamelukes who had delivered up the 
greatest of the citizens to his sword. Bernard Boulet, 
the city treasurer, was one of the proudest of these 
ducal partisans. He had built a fine house, where he 
gave splendid entertainments to his party and kept 
a good table, by which means he soon squandered 
away all his property. But unwilling to renounce 
his gay life, he clandestinely appropriated the property 
of the State, and stiU continued to entertain magnifi- 
cently. 'Boulet,' said the huguenots, 'thinks only 
of indulging with his friends in aU kinds of pleasure, 
in drunkenness, and in voluptuousness. Foppish in 
dress, dainty at table, he has no thought for the hun- 
ger and nakedness of the poor. Dissipation, bad 
management, fraud, robbery make up his whole life.' 
Boulet, who furnished no accounts, owed the city ' at 
least 6,400 florins ' * — a very large sum for those days. 
But they feared his influence and malice ; and nobody 

* Registres du Conseil du 5 ffivrier. 


was willing 'to bell tlie cat.' Syndic Ricliardet, a 
good patriot, courageous but hot-headed, entered the 
council one day determined to put an end to these 
manifest peculations. ' I call upon the treasurer,' he 
said, 'to produce the accounts of his office.' The 
embarrassed Boulet attempted to evade the question; 
but, being determined to make him give an account of 
his conduct, the syndic persisted. The mameluke, 
driven into a corner, exclaimed : 'Are we to be governed 
by these huguenots ? ' — ' He spoke thus from con- 
tempt,' says Bonivard. The fiery Richardet could not 
restrain himself; exasperated because the treasurer 
insulted him at the very moment he was discharging 
the duties of his office, he acted after the style of 
Homer's heroes, and, raising his syndic's staff above 
the dishonest mameluke, dealt him such a blow that 
the staff flew to pieces. It must be remembered that 
in the middle ages deeds of violence were sometimes 
reckoned lawful. For instance, an old charter bore 
that if a respectable man or woman were insulted, 
every prud'homme who came up was permitted to 
punish such misconduct by one, two, or three blows ; 
only the prud'homme was required to make oath after- 
wards that he had given the blows for the sake of 
peace.* There was instantly a great commotion in 
the hall; the mameluke councillors uttered cries of 
anger; the huguenots protested that Richardet had 
acted without their approval; and the syndic, who 
was sincere and good at heart, frankly apologised. 
Throughout all the disturbance Boulet did not utter 
a word ; he was secretly calculating the advantages he 

* Quizot. Hist, dc h Cimlisation. 


could derive from this assault, and was delighted to 
have suffered it. ' He swallowed it as mild as milk,' 
says Bonivard.* Chance, he thought, favoured him, 
and had opportunely extricated him fr'om a desperate 
position. What a providence in this violent act of 
the syndic ! The greedy dishonest treasurer would put 
on the airs of a martyr ; his fidelity to the duke, he 
would say, had drawn upon him this savage assault. 
He would excite Charles III. agatast Geneva; he 
would urge him to take the city by storm ; and in the 
midst of all these agitations his accounts would be 
forgotten — which was the essential thing for him. 

Boulet did not rejoice alone. His friends the 
mamelukes having met, agreed to work this assault 
in such a way as to make the blow which had severed 
L^vrier's head be forgotten. ' Good ! ' said they ; ' we 
have now an opportunity of beginning the old dance 
again ; f that is, to surrender Geneva to Savoy. Go 
to Chambery,' they continued ; ' make your complaint ; 
say that you are not safe in this huguenot city, and 
entreat his Highness's council to summon the sjnidic 
who offended you to appear before them — even at 

Boulet did all he could to exaggerate his injury. 
He bandaged his head, he carried his arm ia a shng. In 
vain the surgeon assured him that his left arm was but 
slightly bruised, and that he had no other wound ; no 
matter : ' I will make my complaint to the bishop,' he 
said ; ' I will make it to the duke ! ' J He would have 
gone even to the emperor. The wrath of Achilles, after 

* Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 414. Gautier MS. Spon, Hist, de Geneve. 

^ Bonivard, 0ironiq. ii. p. 414. 

% Registrea du Conaeil du 28 octobre 1524. 


he had been robbed of Briseis, hardly equalled the 
wrath of this wretch, and, in his opinion, Geneva de- 
served to receive a punishment as severe as that under 
which Troy fell. He had retired across the Arve, 
like Pelides to his tent. Some of his friends, his 
father-in-law and the judge of Gex in particular, 
called upon him and sought to pacify him; but he 
remembered the affront that had been done him, and 
was implacable. ' Geneva shall pay dearly for it,' he 
repeated to his friends. 

He set out for Chamb^ry, asked an audience of the 
ducal council, and reported the syndic's violence. 
People were very uneasy at Geneva. ' These Savoy- 
ards,' said the prior of St. Victor, ' would like nothing 
better than to plunder the huguenots.' The Savoy 
bailiffs soon appeared ; they set up posts at the bridge 
of Arve, at Les Grottes, and at the Mint — all round 
the city — and fastened letters of citation to them. 
The council of Geneva was summoned to appear 
before the councU of Savoy. That was not all : the 
macers (massarii) of the Savoyard council declared 
the possessions of the Genevans ia Savoy confisca- 
ted, and consequently forbade the farmers and vine- 
dressers to till the land or to grind at the null. 
Meadows, fields, vineyards, all were to remain un- 
cultivated. Hitherto it had pertained to God alone 
to send years of famine; now Messieurs of Cham- 
b^ry claimed to have the same privilege ; and some 
Genevese farmers, who had begun to till the earth 
with the permission of the local magistrates, were put 
in prison by the superior authority. Almost at the 
same time other citizens were arrested on frivolous 


pretexts and thrown into one of the dungeons of 
Ch&teau Gaillard. These poor creatures climbed by 
turns to the loophole, by means of a beam placed against 
tlie wall, in order to breathe the fresh air and speak 
to their wives and children. One day when they 
were indulging in this consolation, the beam was taken 
away by the duke's order, and the unhappy wretches 
were compelled to crouch at the bottom of their 
filthy prison. 

Boulet wished, however, to enjoy his triumph; he 
longed to set the magistrates at defiance and ask them 
whether a blow might not cost them too dear. A 
bailifi^ of Chamb^ry arrived at Geneva, just as if that 
city had been within his jurisdiction, and posted a 
' protection ' on the door of Boulet's house. This 
was a daring usurpation, an insult ; but if the 
treasurer sufl^ered the least harm, the duke would 
consider it as if done to himself. Boulet reappeared, 
and had the audacity to show himself at a general 
council. This was a little too much : the wretch who 
had brought so many calamities upon the citizens, 
dared appear among them ! Did he hope to receive 
another blow? Who san say? The Genevans re- 
strained themselves; no one raised a hand against 
him ; but he overheard some persons speaking of his 
peculations : ' I will produce my books and accounts,' 
he said. He met with looks that alarmed him. 
Suppose they were to put him in prison, as they had 
the right, for he was accused of malversation towards 
the State. Fearing some mischance, he disappeared 
again, and went to beseech the ducal council to 
' vex ' the Genevans. All this was threatening. The 


syndics gave orders that prayers should be offered 
up and masses sung for the safety of the city.* 

During this time, the bishop was beginning one of 
his frequent evolutions ; his rule being to go with the 
wind, he turned his prow more to the southward, that 
is, towards Savoy. He feared lest the Genevans 
should offend the duke, and wrote to them from 
Piedmont : ' So conduct yourselves that God and the 
world may have reason to be satisfied.' f He returned 
to Geneva, but did not stay there. He ought to have 
intervened between the duke and his own subjects, 
exposed the serious crimes of the dishonest treasurer, 
and prevailed upon the council of Chambdry to with- 
draw their violent threats ; but though he was both 
bishop and prince of the Genevans, he took care not 
to do them justice. He escaped to St. Claude, 
more sensible to the charms of a worldly life and of 
the wine of Ai'bois, than to the misfortunes of the 
city. In his eyes the epitome of wisdom was to 
satisfy God and the worlds but the seductions of the 
world were so attractive that he forgot to be the 
friend of God. Some Genevans even asserted that 
' he cared no more for the life to come than a brute 
beast.' Pierre de la Baume had noticed that since 
the accession of Clement YII. the house of Savoy 
had been in greater favour than ever at the court of 
Rome ; it was his pohcy to keep on good terms with 
it, to flatter it, in order to obtain a cardinal's hat 
through its influence, as he did a little later. For a 

* Eegistres du Conseil des 2 et 8 d^cembre 1624 ; 8, 15, 18, 27, 29 Jan- 
vier et 5 Kvrier 1525. Journal du Si/ndic Balard {Jilem. d^Ai-cMoL v. 
p. 2). Jiesan^on Hufines, par M. Galiffe fils, p. 268. 

t Archives de Gcueve, lettre de Turin, 1 avril 1525. 


red hat it was worth, while abandoning his sheep to 
the wolves. 

But if the bishop turned to every wind, the duke 
did not. The council of Savoy increased its severity 
towards Geneva. Kichardet had raised his staif against 
one man; Charles raised his against a whole people. 
All Geneva was agitated. The citizens besieged the 
syndics with their complaints ; the syndics assembled 
the council. They described the scenes that were 
taking place in the country, and all the violence of 
Savoy. Two of the noblest magistrates. Syndic Du- 
mont and Aim6 Girard, hastened to St. Claude to 
inform the bishop of the oppressions of the Savoyards. 
Girardpossessed a lofty soul and impetuous disposition ; 
he described with such spirit the outrages heaped 
upon Geneva, that De la Baume seemed touched, and 
promised the Genevans his support. ' If needs be,' 
he exclaimed, ' I will go to the pope myself ... I will 
go to the emperor ... I wiU beseech them to protect 
my good right and the franchises of your city.' The 
deputation was delighted. But the bishop hastened 
to restrain himself: the duke, the duke's power, and the 
red hat I'ecurred to his mind. ' Do not let us be in 
a hurry,' he said more coldly ; ' I shall first send the 
noble Albalesta to the duke.' A month having elapsed, 
while Albalesta had obtained nothing, the Genevese 
resolved to take their cause into their own hands. 
This was what the bishop desired to avoid at any cost. 
He swore that he would cite the ofiicers of Savoy 
before the pope, under a penalty of 10,000 ducats.* 
But Geneva, which placed little trust in the bishop, 

* Eegistres du Conseil dea 2 et 3 Kvrier 1525. Journal de JBalard, 
p. 2. Lettre de La Baume, dans les Ai-chives de Geneve, sous le n" 930. 


resolved to maintain its independence, and to resist 
that foreign Pharaoh who had dared to punish with 
barrenness that earth which God waters with the rain 
from heaven. 

The new campaign required a new leader. Ber- 
thelier, L^vrier, those noble-hearted men, were no 
more. . . But there was a third, and he the very man 
they required. Besan§on Hugues had neither the im- 
pulsiveness of Berthelier nor the firmness of L^vrier; 
but, mild and tender, he felt a love for his country, 
.the fire of which never ceased to animate him. Mo- 
derate, friendly, and of insinuating manners, he was 
able to win over even his enemies, and often exercised 
great influence over Pierre de la Baume. Possessing 
great physical strength, bold, devoted, never sparing 
himself, he braved the most inclement seasons, and 
rushed, sword in hand, into the midst of the most 
furious enemies. Gifted with a rare discernment, 
which permitted him to see clearly into the most 
complicated questions, a keen diplomatist, a wise poli- 
tician, a warm patriot, he was able by his consummate 
wisdom to remove obstacles, by his powerful eloquence 
to convince the most obstinate, even the senators of 
Berne, and to draw tears from those iron hearts. He 
bore in his person a prestige that secured him an 
irresistible influence in the councils, and with a few 
lines, a few words, he could still the popular waves 
ere they came into collision. He has been called the 
Nestor, the Sully, the Washington, of Geneva. This 
is perhaps saying too much: this Nestor was only 
twenty-five when he began his struggles with the 
duke, thirty-four at this period of our narrative, and 
when he died, two or three years before the final 


Reformation of Geneva, he was under forty. Yet 
Ungues was, on a small scale and on a small stage, 
what these great men were on a large one. 

The period for electing the syndics having arrived, 
it was determined to raise to the chief magistracy 
citizens fitted to maintain the rights of the country ; 
and the name of Hugues was in every mouth. He was 
returned, as well as Montyon, Pensabin, and Balard. 
With Hugues for their chief, Geneva feared nothing. 
But the honest citizen refused the office to which he 
had been elected. His friends came round him and 
entreated him to accept: he seemed the only pilot 
able to steer the ship of the State through the nu- 
merous shoals. ' The bishop is your friend ; he will 
protect you,' they said. — ' Yes,' he answered, ' as he 
protected L^vrier.' — 'If you refuse,' said Balard, 'we 
shall refuse also.' — ' The duke,' replied Hugues, ' has 
forbidden me personally to meddle ia city affairs ; I 
have given him my promise. L^vrier's death has 
taught us what the duke's wrath can do. I would 
rather be a confessor than a martyr.' Did Hugues 
give way to a momentary weakness ? "We may be 
allowed to doubt it. He desired to keep the pro- 
mise he had made, and had other motives besides. 
Thinking that he would be of little use in the council, 
and that Geneva must be saved by other means, 
he wished to remain free ia his movements. But 
many could not understand him, and their anger broke 
through all restraint. ' Hugues is wanting in his most 
sacred duties,' they said. These proud republicans 
spared nobody. His friend and brother-in-law, the ex- 
syndic Baud, captain of the artillery, proposed to the 
council-general to deprive him of his citizenship for 

VOL. I. A A 


one year. Strange contradiction ! almost at the same 
moment this man was raised to the head of the republic 
and in danger of being expelled from it. But the 
people seemed to have an instinctive sentiment that 
Hugues would not be wanting at last : ' He gives 
way now,' they said, 'only to succeed better hereafter.' 
Baud's proposition was rejected.* 

Geneva began by a singular measure. The general 
council having assembled in the church of St. Pierre 
on the 10th of January, 1525, it was resolved to appeal 
to the pope against the attacks of Savoy, and delegates 
were despatched to lay the appeal before him. The 
Genevans were men of precedent : they desired to 
have recourse to a tribunal recognised for ages. ' The 
popes,' observed some of them, ' are the defenders of 
the liberties of the people.' But others, like Bonivard, 
well read in history, shook their heads, and argued 
that if princes had been excommunicated by popes, 
it was not for having violated the liberties of their 
people, but for resisting the ambition of pontiffs. 
They mentioned Philip Augustus and Philip the Fair. 
The appeal to the pope would serve to show that he 
took part with oppressors only. However, the depu- 
ties of Geneva started on their journey. It was ten 
years before the day when the Reformation was pro- 
claimed within its walls. This measure is a remark- 
able indication of the peaceful and loyal sentiments 
by which the magistrates were animated. 

At the same time the syndics waited upon the 
bishop's official ; they would have liked for the bishop 
himself to plead their cause before the pope. ' If my 

* liegistres du Conseil du 2 jaiivier, 8 Kvrier, 1525. Besan^on ITuffues, 
par M. GaUffe fils, p. 219. 


lord consents to pass the mountains and support us at 
Rome,' said they, ' we mtII give him a hundred gold 
crowns, and will add five-and- twenty for you.' The 
oificial smiled : ' A hundred cro^wns ! ' he said, ' that 
will not be enough to shoe his horses.' — ' We will give 
him two hundred, then,' answered the syndics. The 
bishop, who was always short of money, put this sum 
into his purse, and then endeavoured to arrange the 
matter without disturbiQg himself, by merely sending 
a deputy to Chambery. 

Never was deputy worse received. The president 
of the ducal council, annoyed that so small a city 
should dare resist a prince so mighty as his master, 
looked contemptuously at the deputy and exclaimed : 
' The duke is sovereign prince of Geneva. What was 
Geneva a hundred years ago ? a paltry town. Who 
is it that made this town into a city? The duke's 
subjects who owe him toll and service.* The 
Genevans desire us to cancel the penalties pronounced 
against them. . . Ha, ha! Messieurs of Geneva, we 
wiU increase them. If within a month from this you 
do not make your submission, we will send you so 
many soldiers, [that you must e'en take the trouble to 
obey his Highness.' The destruction of the liberties 
of Geneva seemed to be at hand. 

The Genevans now had recourse to the bishop a 
second time, and conjured him to pass the Alps. 
Between this second demand and the first, many 
events had occurred in the political world. Pierre 
de la Baume was a zealous agent of the imperialist 
party, and the emperor had informed him that he 

* ' Unum -villagmm . . . qui tenentur ei ad angaria et porangaria.' 

Registres du Conseil des 2-5 mars et 10 mai 1.525. 

A A 2 

356 THE KEF0K3IATI0X IN ECKOP£. book i. 

"wanted h\vn for certain matters. Flattered that 
Charles T. should send for hiTti. he appeared to grant 
the Generese their prarer. 'I "wtU go." he said, 
and immediatelv quitted Geneva. Bonivard, who 
knew La Baume well, smiled as he saw the simple 
burgesses srivinff their prince-bishop two hundred 
crowns to defend them. ■ He is a great spendthrift.' 
said the prior. ' and in hi; eves the sovereign virtue 
of a prelate consists in keeping a ^ood table and 
good wine : he indulges bevond measure. Besides, he 
is veirj" liberal to women, and strives to show the 
nobility of his descent by great pomp and not by 
virtue . . You have given him two hundred crowns 
. . . w^hat will he do with the money? He will 
gamble or squander it away in some other manner." * 
And in fact he had hardly arrived at Turin, when, 
without pleading the cause of Geneva, without visiting 
Rome to defend it before the pope, he set off instantly 
for Milan, w^here, as agent of Chaiies Y., he ploned 
against Francis I. But of the pope and of Geneva, 
not a word. 

Such was the episcopal tenderness of Pierre de la 
Baume. To deliver from, foreign and tyrannical 
oppression the country of which he was both prince 
and bishop was not in his opinion worth the trouble 
of taking a single step : but if it were required to go 
and intrigue in Lombardy for the potentate whom he 
looked upon as the arbiter of the world, a nod was 
sufficient to make him hasten thither. 

As for the Genevese delegates. Borne saw no more 
of them than of their bishop : the court of Turin had 

* Boni^'aid, Jfem. if^irrheol. t. p. 3; 2. 


found* the means of stopping them on the road. 
Besides, had they reached the banks of the Tiber, 
there was no danger that Clement VII. would have 
taken up their cause; he would have laughed at 
such strange ambassadors. All was going on well 
for the duke ; he had succeeded in completely isolating 
the weak and proud city.* 

This prince resolved to bring matters to an end 
with a restless people who gave him more trouble 
than his own states. He quitted Turin, crossed the 
mountains, and 'lodged at Annecy,' says Bonivard. 
In order to succeed, he resolved to employ a smiling 
lip and a strong hand; the use of such contrary 
means was as natural as it was politic in him: 
Charles was always blowing hot and cold. If Geneva 
sent him deputies, he said : ' Upon the honour of a 
gentleman, I desire that the letters I have granted in 
your favour should be observed.' But another day, 
the same man who had appeared as gentle as a lamb 
became as fierce as a wolf; he had the deputies seized 
and thrown into dungeons, as well as any Genevans 
who ventured into his territories. The soldiers ran- 
sacked the country-houses lying round Geneva, carried 
away the furniture, and drank the wine; they also 
cut off the supplies of the city, which was a scandalous 
violation of the most positive treaties. f 

Still the appeal to Kome made the duke uneasy. 
The prince of Kome was a priest, the prince of 
Geneva was a priest also: Charles feared that the 

* Lettres de La Baume, AreUves de Genfeve, n° 930. Journal du 
Syndic Balard, p. 3. 

t Kegistres du Conseil des 4, 25 mai; 29 juin; 10 juillet; 7, 16, 17 
et 20 aeptembre, 1525. Manusorit Roset, Hv. ii, ohj iii. 


two priests would play him some ugly trick BeMnd 
Ms back. He determined, therefore, to employ in- 
trigue rather than force, to induce the people to 
confer on h iTn the superior jurisdiction, which would 
put him in a position to monopolise the other rights 
of sovereignty ; he resolved to ask for it as if he were 
doing the Genevese a great favour. Accordingly on 
the 8th of September the vidame appeared before the 
council as if he had come to make the most generous 
proposition in behalf of his Highness. ' On the one 
hand,' he said, ' you will withdraw the appeal from 
Rome ; and on the other, the duke will put an end 
to all the aimoyances of which you complain.' And 
then he demanded the superior jurisdiction in Geneva 
for the duke, as if it were mere surplusage. Charles 
expected this tiaae to attain his end. Indeed, his 
numerous partisans in the city, seeing that the de- 
cisive moment had arrived, everywhere took up the 
matter warmly. 'Let us accept,' said the mameluke 
Nergaz. ' If we refuse these generous proposals, our 
property and our fellow-citizens will never be restored, 
and none of us will be able to leave our narrow 
territory without being shut up in his Highness's 
prisons.' — 'Let us accept,' answered all the ducal 
partisans. Geneva was about to become Savoyard; 
and the humble but real part reserved for her in 
history would never have existed. Then the most cou- 
rageous patriots — Besan§on Hugues, Jean Philippe, 
the two Bauds, Michael Sept, Syndic Bouvier, who 
had been named in place of Hugues, Ami Bandiere, 

the two Rosets, John Pecolat, and John Lullin 

exclaimed : ' If we love the good things of this life so 
much, our only gain will be to lose them and our 


liberty with them. The duke entices us to-day, only 
to enslave us to-morrow. Let us fear neither exile, 
nor imprisonment, nor the axe. Let us secure the in- 
dependence of Geneva, though it be at the price of our 
blood.' Even Bouvier, a weak and wavering charac- 
ter, was electrified by these noble words, and added : 
' Kather than consent to this demand, I wiU leave the 
city and go to Turkey !'...' No compromise with 
the duke ! ' repeated all the independents. The mame- 
lukes persisted : they pointed to the fields lying fallow, 
to the Genevans in prison . . . and without touching 
upon the question of the superior jurisdiction (for 
that was inadmissible) they demanded that the ap- 
peal of Geneva against the duke should be with- 
drawn. There was a majority of eleven in favour 
of this proposition ; forty- two votes were given against 
it, and fifty-three for it. It was strange that the 
huguenots supported the' appeal to the pope. The 
pope (very innocently, it must be confessed) seemed 
to be on the side of liberty. . . The party of inde- 
pendence was vanquished.* 

Charles was not satisfied, however. He hated these 
majorities and minorities, and all these republican 
votes ; he wanted a passive and unanimous obedience ; 
he attended only to the votes of the minority, and 
meditated setting every engine to work to get rid of 
the forty-two huguenots who opposed his designs. 
At court they were delighted with the result; they 
made a jest of the forty-two independents who had 
had the simplicity to give their names, and thus point 
themselves out to the court of Turin as persons to be 

* Kegistres du Conseil des 7 et 8 septembre. Savyon, Annales, p. 122. 


despatched first of all. The list was read over and 
over again: they picked it to pieces — a sarcasm 
against tliis man, an insult against that. All ne- 
cessary measures were taken for the great act of 
purification which was to be accomplished. The 
duke gave orders to move up the army that was to 
enter the city and free it from the rebels. 

The enemies of Geneva were not less active within 
than without. The vidame, a servile agent of Charles, 
assembled the chiefs of the mamelulces in his house. 
As all the citizens whose deaths they desired were not 
included among the forty-two, they occupied them- 
selves at these meetings in drawing up proscription 
lists. Vidame, mamelukes, Savoyards, congratulated 
each other on ' cutting off the heads of their adver- 
saries,' and wrote down the names of many of the 
best citizens.* The disease, according to these con- 
spirators, had spread Avidely; it was necessary to 
get rid of the friends of independence at one blow 
and not singly. They prepared to seize the patriots 
in the city, and to slay them outside the city; the 
parts were distributed ; this man will arrest, that 
man wiU try, and the other will put to death. At 
the same time, to prevent the free Genevans from 
escaping, the duke stationed soldiers on every road. 
Geneva will be very fortimate if it escapes the plot this 
time, and if it does not see its old hberties and its new 
hopes of the Gospel and of reformation perish under 
the sword of Savoy. 

Chaiies III., leading the way to Charles IX., began 
his persecution of the huguenots. He commenced 

* Bonivard, Police de Oenbvc. 3Iim. cVArcliM. v. p. 884. 


with his own territories, where he could do as he 
pleased ; Pierre de Malbuisson was seized at Seyssel ; 
Beffant at Annecy ; Bullon was arrested on Sunday 
(frightful sacrilege in the eyes of the catholics!) in 
the church of Our Lady of Grace, during high mass. 
' That matters not,' said the ducal party ; ' there are 
cases where the privileges of the Church must give 
way to the interests of the State.' During this time, 
the patriots remaining at Geneva went up and down 
the city, showing themselves brave even to impru- 
dence, and boldly demanded the convocation of a 
general council of the people to annul the division 
which by a majority of eleven had given such satis- 
faction to the duke. This inflamed Charles's anger 
to the highest degree ; he swore to be avenged of 
such an insult, and everything was prepared to crush 
these audacious citizens. The sky grew dark ; a dull 
murmur was heard in the city ; there was a general 
uneasiness ; every man asked his neighbour what was 
going to happen . . . alarm was everywhere. 

At last the storm burst. It was the 15th of Sep- 
tember. One, two, three — several persons not known 
in Geneva, peasants, or tradespeople, and men of 
little importance, appeared at the gates : they were 
messengers sent to the patriots b^^ their friends and 
relations settled in Savoy. One message succeeded 
another. The ducal army is in motion, they were 
told; it is preparing to quit the villages where it was 
stationed. Leaders and soldiers declare loudly that 
they are going to Geneva to put the duke's enemies 
to death. Nothing else can be heard but threats, 
boasts, and shouts of joy. . . A few minutes later the 
people of the neighbourhood ran up and announced 


that the army was only a quarter of a league distant. 
The people hastened to the higher parts of the city : 
they saw the arquebusiers, halberdiers, and flags ; they 
heard the drums and fifes, the tramp of the march, and 
the hurrahs of the soldiers. The Savoyards were in the 
fields and the mamelukes in the streets. It was not 
even possible for the citizens to expose themselves to 
death on the ramparts. The ducal faction would not 
permit them to approach. ' Make your escape,' said 
some to the huguenot leaders ; ' if you delay an instant, 
you are lost.' The mamelukes lifted their heads and 
exclaimed : ' Now is the day of vengeance ! ' 

The noble citizens threatened by the sword of 
Charles, or rather by the axe of his executioners, 
wished to come to some understanding with each 
other, but they had not the time to confer together. 
They knew the fate that awaited them, and the alarm 
of their fii-iends and wives, of those who had nothing 
to fear, drove them out like a blast of wind. Some 
would have sold their lives dearly; others said that 
their task was not yet completed, that if the duke 
attacked them perfidiously, if the bishop basely 
abandoned them, they must retire elsewhere, pray for 
the hour of justice, and procure powerful defenders 
for Geneva. Their resolution was hardly formed 
when the field-sergeants approached the gates. The 
huguenots pursued by the sword of Savoy could 
neither carry away what would be necessary during 
their exile, nor take leave of their fi'iends ; people in 
the streets had haa'dly time to enter their houses. 
AU departed amid the tears of their wives and the 
cries of their children. 

The exodus began, not the exodus of a whole 


people, but of the flower of the citizens. Many were 
seen leaving the gates of the city. There was Jean 
Baud, captain of the artUlery, with his brother Claude, 
a zealous episcopalian, but a friend of independence ; 
Girard, who had succeeded Boulet as treasurer of the 
city ; Jean Philippe, afterwards first syndic ; the 
intrepid Jean LuHin, Hudriot du Molard, and Ami 
Bandiere, who were syndics in the year of the Ee- 
formation ; Jean d' Arloz, afterwards one of the Council 
of Two Hundred ; Michael Sept, a fi-equent deputy to 
Switzerland; G. Peter, Claude Roset, father of the 
celebrated syndic and chronicler; J. L. Ramel, Pierre 
de la Thoy, Chabot, and Pecolat. Others quitted 
Genera secretly ; some by day, some by night, in dis- 
guise, on foot or on horseback, ' in great haste, by 
different roads, without consulting one another.' Some 
crept along the edge of the lake, others hastened 
towards the mountains. Melancholy dispersion, sad 
calamity ! * And yet as they departed, these gene- 
rous men kept up the hope of seeing liberty vic- 
torious. In this dread and critical hour, they cast 
their eyes over the walls of the old city, and swore 
that they left it not to escape death, but to save it 
from oppression. They were going ia search of 
help — not towards the enslaved banks of the Tiber, 
as they did once in their folly; but towards those 
noble mountains of Switzerland, which had thrown 
off the yoke of foreign tyrants. The sword of Savoy 
pursues them; but, wonderful providence of God ! it 
drives them towards those countries where a new 
light has dawned, and where they will meet at nearly 

* E-egistrea du Conseil du 23 fiSvrier 1626, Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p, 
416. Savyon, Aimales, p. 123. 


every step the friends of Zwingle and of the Refor- 
mation. It is a prince, a Mend of the pope, that is 
sending them to the school of the Gospel. 

The most threatened of aU was Besangon Hugues : 
if he had been taken, his head would have been the 
first to fall. At that time he happened to be at a form 
he possessed at Chatelaine, a short distance from Ge- 
neva, in the direction of Gex. He was serious, but 
calm, for he felt the importance of the crisis, and was 
tranquilly preparing to gather his grapes, for it was 
vintage.time. On the evening of the 15th of Septem- 
ber he received a visit from his friend Messire Vuillet, 
commandant of Gex, who rode up on horseback, and 
asked him, with an air of frankness, to give him a bed 
for the night. Hugues had no suspicion; the horse 
was put into the stable ; a room was prepared for 
VuiUet, and the two friends, sitting down at table, 
talked a long while over their supper. The com- 
mandant of Gex, commissioned by the duke to arrest 
Hugues, had ordered his officers to be at Chatelaine 
early in the morning of the 1 6th ; and to make sure of 
not losing his victim, he had thought the cleverest 
way was to come and sup as a friend with the man 
whom he was to deliver- up to the death of Berthelier 
and of L^vrier, to sleep under his roof, to arrest him 
next morning, and hand him over to the execu- 
tioners. Hugues as yet knew nothing of what was 
going on at Geneva. 

The flight had already become general : the hugue- 
nots hurried away, some in the direction of Friburg 
by way of Lausanne ; others' to St. Claude, by the 
Jura. The bishop, as we have said, had gone into 
Italy, probably in March, six months before ; but he 


had devoted partisans at St. Claude. Accordingly 
the fugitives, who still hoped something from the 
episcopal power, took the latter road. Let us follow 
the first of these two companies. 

At the head of those who had taken the road to 
Switzerland were De la Thoy and Chabod. They 
galloped their horses ftdl speed along the Lausanne 
road ; on reaching Versoix, they fell unexpectedly 
into the midst of the soldiers posted there with orders 
to stop the Genevans in their flight. De la Thoy, 
who was weU mounted, gave his horse the spur, and 
escaped ; but Chabod was taken and carried to Gex. 
The news of this arrest spread immediately, and caused 
great trouble among the fugitives who followed them. 
They threw themselves into the by-roads, they skirted 
the foot of the mountains, and in vain did Charles's 
men-at-arms follow in their track : many of them 
arrived at Lausanne. Yet it was Friburg they wished 
to reach, and to do that they had to cross difficult 
passes where the duke had stationed his soldiers in 
order to seize them. The Sieur d'Englisberg, avoyer 
of Friburg, possessed vineyards on the shores of the 
Lake of Geneva, and was gathering his grapes at La 
Vaux. While busy with his vats and presses, he 
learnt what was going on, and, full of compassion for 
the unhappy men, he sent off a courier to his col- 
leagues. The Friburg council immediately despatched 
an officer with thirty horsemen, with orders to protect 
the fugitive huguenots. 

During this time, those who had taken the road to 
Franche-Comtd (the bishop's followers) crossed the 
Jura mountains and ' made a thousand windings to 
escape,' says Bonivard. They walked but little during 


the day, much during the night ; they flung themselves 
into the woods and scaled the rocks. These worthy 
episcopalians fancied that it would be sufficient to see 
their pastor's face and be saved. And even if he had 
not returned to St. Claude, that city would afford 
them a secure asylum. But, cruel disappointment! 
not only was there no bishop, but his officers re- 
pulsed his persecuted subjects. Nobody in the city 
would give shelter even to the most catholic of the 

The Genevans, disappointed in their expectations 
and disconcerted in their plans, determined to con? 
tinue their flight. It was indeed time : just as they 
were leaving St. Claude by one gate, the Savoyard 
soldiers entered by another. Terror added wings to 
their feet; they hurried along, the rain beating upon 
them, the horsemen following them hard, at every 
moment on the brink of falling into the hands of their 
enemies, and the dangers of their country adding to 
the wretchedness of their flight. At last they arrived 
at Besangon, then at Neufchatel, and finally at Friburg, 
where they met their friends who had come by way of 
Lausanne. They embraced and grasped each other's 
hands. But Besangon Hugues . . . they sought him 
everywhere ... he could not be found. The anxiety 
was general. It was known what zeal the ducal 
archers would have employed to seize him; it was 
besides so easy to surprise him in his quiet retreat at 
Chatelaine. Alas! the murderers of Cassar's tower 
and of the castle of Bonne might perhaps already 
have shed the blood of a third martyr ! 

Hugues and the governor of Gex had passed the 
evening together; and as the Genevan had, says a 


manuscript, ' a keener scent than his treacherous 
friend,' he had led on Yuillet to speak of the circum- 
stances of the times, and had guessed the object of his 
visit. He had learnt that the only means of saving 
Geneva was to claim the support of the Swiss. The 
hour for retiring had come ; Hugues with a cheerful 
look conducted the commandant to the room prepared 
for him, and bade him good night. The latter had 
hardly fallen asleep when, saddling his guest's horse, 
Hugues galloped off with one or two companions ; 
they took the direction of St. Claude, intending to go 
from thence to Friburg. At daybreak he found him- 
self on the summit of the mountain of Gex, and at 
the pass of La Faucille bade farewell to the beautiful 
valley of the Leman, on which the rays of the rising 
sun were beginning to fall. 

At this moment Messire Vuillet awoke, got up 
noiselessly, and, seeing from the window that his 
soldiers were posted round the house, stealthily ad- 
vanced to seize his prey. . . The bed was empty, the 
bird had flown. The commandant of Gex imme- 
diately ordered the door to be opened, summoned the 
provost-marshal, and directed him to pursue the 
fugitive with the duke's cavalry. The squadron set 
off at a gallop. Some hours earlier, the archers of Gex 
had started in pursuit of the other fugitives, making 
sure of catching them. The road across the moun- 
tains wound about in consequence of the valleys and 
precipices, so that pursuers and pursued, being some- 
times on opposite slopes, might see and even hear one 
another, although there was an abyss between them. 
When the flight of Hugues was made known, the zeal 
of the soldiers increased ; and the former, knowing his 


danger, tTirew himself into impassable roads in order 
to escape his enemies. ' All ! ' said he afterwards, ' it 
was not pleasant; for the archers of Monsieur of 
Savoy followed us as far as St. Claude, then from St. 
Claude to Besan9on and beyond. . . We were forced 
to journey day and night, through the woods, through 
the rain, not knowing where to find a place of safety.' 
At length he reached Friburg, six days after the 
arrival of his friends who had gone by Lausanne. 
Friburgers and Genevese, all welcomed him with 

* The account given by Hugues himself is in the Registres de I'Etat. 
The narrative ■written by the author of the Promenades Historiques dans le 
Canton de Qenive is embellished after the manner of Sir Walter Scott. 
Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 416. Spon, Hist, de Oen&ve, ii. p. 374. Gautier 
MS. Savyon, .Annales, p. 123. 



the fdgitites at feibueg and behne. the dtjke and the 
council of haxbeeds at geneva. 

(Sepiembek to Decbmbbb. 1525.) 

A STRIKING sight was that presented by the 
city founded by the Zoehringens. Strange 
men were wandering round the old cathedral and on 
the steep and picturesque banks of the Sarine. The 
people of Friburg looked at them with respect, for they 
knew that these citizens, the victims of the tyranny 
of a foreign power, had come to seek an asylum 
within their walls. They went to the windows to see 
them pass, and approached them with cordial affection. 
The Friburgers wished to hear them, and Besangon 
Hugues, accompanied by a number of the fugitives, 
was introduced into the council-haU. They gave him 
a seat on the right of the avoyer, which was the place 
of honour, and the sitting being opened, the Genevan 
rose and said : ' Most honoured lords, there is a town 
situated at the natural limits of Switzerland — a town 
entirely devoted to you, where you can come and go 
just as at home, where you can bargain, sell, and buy 
whatever you require, and which would be able to stop 
your enemies, if ever the League should be attacked 
from the south. This town, the complement of Hel- 
vetia, ought to be allied to the cantons. Did not the 

VOL. I. B B 


Swiss in the time of Cassar extend as far as L'Ecluse?* 
... If Geneva should fall into the hands of Savoy, 
the cannon that ought to defend you will be turned 
against you. . . Gentlemen, time presses, the fatal 
moment is at hand. . . Long, unjust, and violent per- 
secutions have placed our liberties on the brink of the 
abyss. The heroic Berthelier murdered at the foot 
of Caesar's tower ; the wise L^vrier beheaded in the 
castle yard of Bonne ; Malbuisson, Chabod, and many 
others recently flung into gloomy dimgeons; all our 
friends remaining at Geneva in danger of losing their 
lives . . . and we, most honoured lords, who are before 
you, obliged to abandon our property, our business, 
our families, our country, that we may not fall into 
the hands of a prince who has sworn our death : to 
such a state is our free and ancient city reduced. . . 
One thing alone can save it . . . the strong hand of the 
Swiss League. . . Most honoured lords, hear our cries, 
behold our tears, and have compassion on our misery. 
For God's honour, give us aid and counsel.' 

The fugitives who stood around Hugues — LuUin, 
Girard, the two Bauds, Bandiere, Sept, Pecolat, and 
about twelve other citizens — were deeply moved. 
These men, men of great energy, appeared as suppliants 
before the senate of Friburg. Their countenance, then" 
words, entreated this powerful city, and yet a noble 
piide was visible in their looks. They felt at once 
their independence and their misery ; they had the air 
of dethroned kings. Some wrung their hands, others 
shed teai's ; aU prayed with tones of sorrow that the 
Swiss would come to their assistance. The Friburgers, 

• Fort de I'Ecluse, between Geneva and Bourg (Ain). 


touched witli pity for Geneva and its exiles, and filled 
■\vith indignation against Charles and his partisans, 
replied: 'No, we wUl not desert you.' Words fuU 
of kindness, which consoled men overwhelmed with 
sorrows, and shed a ray of light upon their gloomy 

The moment was favourable for gaining the Swiss : 
they were exasperated at seeing Savoy, after the battle 
of Pavia, basely embrace the cause of the conqueror. 
In going to the support of Geneva, Switzerland the 
faithful would give a wholesome lesson to that power 
which always took the strongest side. Friburg imme- 
diately despatched deputies to Berne and Soleure, and 
some of the fugitives accompanied them. In these 
two cities the unfortunate Genevans renewed their 
touching supplications. At Berne, says a chronicler, 
' they found a bad beginning but a good end ; ' at 
Soleure, the contrary, ' a good beginning but a bad 
end.' Soleure, however, joined the two other cities in 
notifying to the duke, that if he valued their friend- 
ship he must cease injuring Geneva. But Berne in 
particular showed great zeal. There were already in 
that city a number of devoted friends of Zwingle and 
the Reformation ; among others one of the chief magis- 
trates, Thomas ab Hofen, an intelligent and moderate 
man, of a temper inclined to melancholy, much em- 
ployed in the public business of his country, and who 
for two years had been corresponding with the 
reformer of Zurich. These evangelical Bernese soon 
perceived that there was a hidden but real relationship 
between the reformation of Zurich and the emancipa- 
tion of Geneva ; and they influenced their countrymen 
in favour of the Genevans. At the same time they 

B B 2 


spoke of the Gospel to the fugitives, and some of those 
men who had come to Switzerland in search of liberty 
only, found the truth. This movement of the power- 
ful republic towards Geneva preluded new times. 
Savoy had desired to crush that liberty which was 
of such old standing in Geneva, and the Reformation 
which was soon to begin ; but, by the wonderful provi- 
dence of God, the blow intended to kill both secured 
their existence and gave them a wider development. 
The word of the reformers, well received by the 
Bernese people, was to arrive even at Geneva, and that 
city would thus, by God's counsel, receive from Swit- 
zerland not only national independence, but blessings 
that extend far beyond the destinies of nations.* 

Meanwhile the duke had been told of the departure 
of the fugitives : just as he was going to lay his hand 
upon the nest, the birds disappeared. Charles and his 
counsellors were staggered. These energetic citizens 
would in truth be no longer in Geneva to combat his 
designs ; but it would have been surer, he thought, to 
put them out of the way either by the sword of the 
executioner or by a long imprisonment. Charles the 
Good had often practised both these means with suc- 
cess. In vain did his partisans say, to comfort him, 
that at least the patriots would not offend him by their 
presence. Yes, but if they should return — if they 
should not return alone — if the Swiss . . . There were 
in the Helvetic League confused noises, distant sounds 
of Reformation and of liberty, which alarmed the 
Savoyards. Yet they said, if we profit skilfully by 
the absence of the huguenots, if we properly muzzle 

* Gautier MS. La CorbiSre MS. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 417. 


the other Genevans, if we establish ourselves firmly in 
the city, nobody will be able to turn us out. 

And now, as there was no need to hurry, the duke 
resolved to put ofi" his entrance for a while. The ap- 
peal to Eome had woimded him deeply. To see him- 
self, a sovereign piince, head of the most glorious 
house in Europe, uncle of the king of France, brother- 
in-law of the emperor, summoned before the pope by 
a band of nobodies, greatly incensed the vain and 
haughty Charles III. Before he enters Geneva, the 
appeal must be withdrawn. The duke sent orders 
on this subject to M. de Balleyson, his representa- 
tive in the city. Then, as if to pass away the time, 
he urged on the persecution of all the Genevans 
around him. The Sieur of Bonebouges, brother to 
the Sieur of Montrotier, at the head of the troops of 
Faucigny, good soldiers but violent men, plundered 
the country, seized many respectable people in the 
environs of the city, and shut them up m the castles 
of Savoy, where they were grossly maltreated. 

De Balleyson lost no time in executing his master's 
orders. He represented to the principal fi-iends of 
Savoy at Geneva of what an offence the city had been 
guilty towards the duke by daring to accuse him be- 
fore the pope. On the 20th of September the general 
council was convoked. Alas! those energetic men 
who had so often been its glory, Hugues and his com- 
panions in misfortune, were absent, and nearly all the 
friends they still possessed in Geneva refused to 
attend. M. de Balleyson appeared before this shadow 
of a general council and said: 'Our lord the duke 
wishes to learn from the people of this city of Geneva 
whether they intend to prosecute a certain appeal 


before the court of Kome.' * The mamelukes, who 
were ahnost alone in the council, shouted out as if 
with one voice : ' It is not our wish to prosecute 
the said appeal.' f 

This matter being ended, the duke prepared to 
make his entrance into the city, which he did in the 
last days of September with a part of the troops 
Avhich he had ' beyond the Arve.' He found Geneva 
very different ft'om what he had desired. He had 
hoped to seize the rebels there, and he found none 
but slaves. The servile mamelukes cared little for 
liberty, and were proud to have a master. They 
called him their ' most dread lord,' approached him 
with base adulation, and, kissiug the chains he brought 
them, assured him that his coming filled them with 
joy and comfort. 

The duke, who set little store by such cringing 
men, thought only how he could become prince of 
the city, and intrigued to get the sovereign authority 
handed over to him. His ministers had conceived a 
plan which promised fairly, and the necessary ma- 
ncEuvres were immediately resorted to. The syndics 
having appeared before his Highness on the 29th of 
September (1525), the duke said to them rather ab- 
ruptly : ' The expenses and fines imposed on Geneva by 
my council of Chambdry amount to twenty thousand 
gold crowns.' He desired to frighten the Genevans, 
and induce them to sacrifice their independence in 

* 'Noster dux.. . viilt scire et intelligere a populo hujus civitatia 
Gebennensis ... si velit et intendat persequi quamdam appellationem 
... in curia Eomana.' 

t ' Responderunt . . . una voce . . . quod non erat ipsorum voluntas . . . 
dictas appellationes prosequi.' 


exchange for this debt. But the syndics contented 
themselves with answering: 'Monseigneur, the city is 
poor, and we can only offer you . . . our hearts.' This 
was not what Charles wanted. The duke's chancellor, 
taking the syndics aside, said to them : ' Come, gentle- 
men, put yourselves straight, do something to satisfy 
his Highness.' The syndics reflected for two or 
three days, and unable or unwilling to guess what 
that ' something ' could be, they said to the vidame, 
the lawful channel between them and the prince: 
' What does the duke mean? ' The vidame conferred 
with his master, and appearing before the council 
on the 10th of October, he said : ' The duke is vicar- 
imperial and sovereign of the cities included within 
his states ; Geneva is so included. Why do you not 
then acknowledge him as your master? Do not be 
afraid; he is a kind prince; he will respect the autho- 
rity of the bishop and the franchises of the city, and 
you will enjoy a prosperity hitherto unknown.' This 
was clearer : the Savoyard prince said plainly that 
he wanted Geneva. The vidame, observing that his 
hint had been received without enthusiasm, added: 
' If you do not accept the duke willingly, you will be 
made to accept him by force.' The servile mame- 
lukes, magnifying the advantages of annexation to so 
powerful a state, would have granted everything on 
the spot. The moment was critical: the syndics 
were uneasy and wavering. On the one hand was 
the ancient independence of their country; on the 
other, superior and brute force, which none of them 
could resist. They referred his Highness's demand 
to the episcopal council, which in turn referred it to 
the prince-bishop in person. Such a reply was 


already a concession ; the politicians of Savoy fancied 
themselves near their object. . . Geneva consents, 
they will say to the bishop ; you cannot answer us by 
a refusal. The city was on the verge of ruin when 
an unexpected and noble succour preserved it.* 

What Charles had so much dreaded came to pass. 
Towards the end of October, several stout men of 
warlike mien and proud look were seen entering 
by the Swiss gate: they were ambassadors from 
Berne, Friburg, and Soleure, with Gaspard de Mul- 
linen of Berne at their head. This energetic man 
was a good catholic; in 1517 he had made a pil- 
grimage to Jerusalem, and had been created knight 
of the Holy Sepulchre. A blind conservative, he 
was conscientiously and steadfastly opposed to every 
change, religious or political. ' Confederates,' said 
he continually in the diets, 'resist the doctrine of 
Luther, or we shall soon be overrun by it.' f It 
would seem as if Mullinen ought to have supported 
the prince's pretensions with his iron hand; but in 
his sight the attempt of Savoy was contrary to treaty, 
and consequently a revolutionary work. Seeing, 
therefore, that the Genevese council were wavering, 
the indignant Bernese went to their place of meeting, 
and said : ' Stand firm and fear nothing ; our lords 
will support you in all your rights.' J 

This intervention on the part of the Swiss discon^ 

* Registi-es du Conseil dos 22, 23, 25, 28 septembre ; 3, 6, 8, 10 octobie. 
Manuscrit de Gautier. Journal du Syndic Balard, pp. 14-17. Manuscrit 
de Reset, liv. ii. ch. v. 

t ' Wehret bei Zeiten dass die lutherische Saobe nicbt die Oberhand 
gewirme.' — H. Hettinger, Kirchengesch. v. p. 103. 

X Registres du Conaeil du 27octobre. Journal de Balard, pp. 18, 19. 
Manuscrit de Gautier. 


certed the duke. He must change his plan, and have 
recourse to stratagem in order to free himself from 
this knight of the Holy Sepulchre. Never were 
diplomatists more successful in deceiving rude war- 
riors and honest citizens. First, Charles's ministers 
put the mamelukes forward, who began telling the 
ambassadors : ' We desire to live under the protection 
of the duke and the bishop.' Next, Charles declared 
to the Swiss that he was full of love for all the citizens 
of Geneva, and ready to grant everything the cantons 
required. ' The fugitives may return,' he added. 
'Here is a safe-conduct for them: take it to them.' 
The document was placed in Mullinen's hands. He 
was astonished at the rapid success of his embassy. 
He turned the paper over and over, without reading 
it however, and for a good reason. The safe-conduct 
was in Latin, and the knight of MuUinen with his 
noble colleagues did not pretend to any knowledge of 
that language ; but how could they suppose that the 
dulte had not given them, as he assured them, com- 
plete satisfaction? They imagined that the docu- 
ment, while it secured life and liberty to the fugitives, 
would open to them the gates of Geneva; and doubt- 
ing not that Besangon Hugues, LuUin, Girard, and 
their friends, on their return to the city, would be 
able to preserve its iadependence, they thanked the 
duke and departed satisfied for their homes. 

But Hugues was a better Latia scholar and knew 
his man better than MuUinen. As soon as the ambas- 
sador returned, he handed to the Genevese, with an air 
of triumph, the important paper that was the reward of 

* Bonivai-d, Chrmiiq. ii. pp. 418-421. Gautier MS. 


his journey, and Hugues read it eagerly. On coming 
to the last phrase he smiled bitterly : Dummodo non 
intrent civitatem^ nee suburbia ejus, said the safe- 
conduct; ' which means,' said Hugues to the deputies, 
' that "we can return to Geneva provided we do not 
enter the city or the suburbs. . . The duie will be 
within and we without. . . What services can we 
render the city? You know the smallness of our 
territory. If we are neither in the city nor in the 
suburbs, we are on the lands of Savoy . . . Now if Berthe- 
lier was arrested close under the walls (at La Treille), 
if Levrier was seized at the very gate of St. Pierre, 
what would befaU us on the ducal territory? . . . 
The duke is laying a snare : it is a condition which 

nullifies the act The bird which the duke has sent 

us,' he added, ' has a fine head and beautiful plumage; 
but there is a tail at the end which spoils all the 
rest.' — ' This grace is a mere trap,' said the indignant 
exiles. The knight of Mullinen was ofi'ended and 
annoyed at the manner in which the Duke of Savoy 
had befooled him, and perhaps began to imagine that 
a knowledge of Latin might be of use. ' My lords,' 
said the fugitives to the councils of Berne and Fri- 
burg, ' the duke is a great traitor. He fears not God, 
but he fears men the more. For this reason, make us 
free of your cities ; for if he knows that we are your 
allies, then only will he leave us in peace.'* At the 
same time the Genevans, wishing to show the duke 
what confidence they placed in his safe-conduct, sent 
for their wives and children. This was making an 
energetic answer to Savoy. 

* Bonivard, CJirotiiq. ii. pp. 418, 421. Gautier MS. 


The poor Genevese women with hearts full of bit- 
terness began their journey. Women did not travel 
much at the beginning of the sixteenth century; and 
these, who had hardly been out of Geneva, thought, 
as they went to Friburg and Berne, that they were 
going almost to the end of the world. What a sad 
journey was theirs ! Frightened at the real or sup- 
posed dangers of the road, surprised at the strange 
language whose unintelligible sounds began to echo 
in their ears, bathed in tears, and broken-hearted, they 
folded the poor children tti their arms ; for they were 
terrified at the strange scenes and new faces, and 
clung with their weak hands round their mothers' 
necks. At length this troop of afflicted women 
entered Friburg ; but their arrival at first only in- 
creased the distress, and when these loving wives 
embraced their husbands, their tears of joy were 
mingled abundantly with tears of sorrow. The 
' foreigners,' as they were called, although of respect- 
able families, were at that time destitute of everjr- 
thing, and were almost like beggars at the doors of 
their friends. At the first moment they were com- 
pelled to leave their families in the street, not knowing 
where to shelter them. It was a heart-rending time. 
What! not a room, not even a stable where these 
exhausted women and children could lie upon the 
straw ! The afflicted mothers pressed the little crea- 
tures to their bosom — kissed their pale lips ... and 
then regretted Geneva. 

At length the foreigners took courage and went 
before the council. ' We sent for our families,' they 
said, ' but we can neither lodge them nor feed them. 
Permit them to enter the hospital.' The prayer was 


granted, and these •well-born women wlio not long ago 
were robed in silk and dancing with Beatrice of Por- 
tugal, were seen exchanging the palace for a hospital. 
' The people were moved to pity,' says Bonivard. It 
must be remembered, however, that in those times 
staying in a hospital was not degrading: travellers 
often lodged in such places.* 

The arrival of the women and children at first 
increased the distress of the citizens ; they were dis- 
couraged and seemed to have reached the depths of 
misery. The sight of these beloved beings reminded 
them of Geneva and softened their hearts. But on a 
sudden they roused themselves ; they went from Fri- 
burg to Berne ; they spoke in private houses, in the 
halls of the tribes, in the public places, and appealed 
to the sympathy of the Swiss. They represented 
that the duke had put their leaders to death; that he 
had forced them to forsake their homes and their 
business, and to fly to a foreign land; that, being 
reduced to the greatest poverty, they had been com- 
pelled to place their wives in a position which they 
would once have rejected with contempt, and that, to 
put a climax to this misery, the city which they loved, 
and for whose independence they were ready to sacri- 
fice everything, was invaded and enslaved. . . These 
great souls were troubled ; these proud citizens, so 
resolute before the face of a cruel prince, were de- 
pressed in the presence of their afflicted families, of 
their exile, of the ruin of Geneva, and tears betrayed 
their weakness. The Bernese looked with admira- 
tion on these noble citizens, whose tattered garments 

* Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. p. 421. 


bore witness to their wretched condition. Many of 
the tribes of the city of Berne and the majority of 
the Council of Two Hundred declared for the van- 
quished cause, and the conclusion of an alliance with 
Geneva seemed near at hand. 

The bishop, already alarmed by Charles's intrigues, 
was startled when he heard of this. If Berne accepted 
the reformed doctrine ]ike Zurich, if Geneva should 
foUow the example of Berne, the prelate seated in the 
chair of the bishops and on the throne of princes, 
would see them both taken from under him. Pierre 
de la Baume, like many ecclesiastical sovereigns, cared 
nothing for the welfare of those whom he called his 
subjects; but he cared a great deal for the title of 
prince, and would not suffer either the duke or the 
Swiss to deprive him of it. In order to preserve it, 
he would have convoked the whole world, had that 
been possible. Accordingly, even when at table, he 
felt uneasy and would pause frequently, musing with 
himself and saying : ' The duke is at Geneva ; the fox 
in the poultry-yard. . . Let the fowls look out! . . . 
And then, on the other hand, they are playing tricks 
in the cantons. . . The bears look as if they wished to 
descend from the mountains. . . Unhappy shepherd ! 
... I will do anything,' he said, 'to preserve the 
jurisdiction of the Church.' He began at once, and 
endeavoured first to coax his flock : * ' We are very 
glad to hear of your good disposition,' he wrote to 
them ; ' and you will do us great pleasure by informing 
us of all that is necessary for the welfare of our dear 
city. . . Do you, on your part, so conduct yourselves 

* ' II s'sfforga d'abord d'apigeonner sea ouaiUes.' Apigeonner, to entice 
pigeons by oiFering them corn. 


that God and the Avorld may have cause to be satisfied.'* 
In 1525, as in 1523, the prelate's device was still God 
and the world. 

These efi"orts came to nothing. The government 
of bishops and princes, established in different parts 
of Christendom, was at first mild and paternal, com- 
pared with the government of certain lay lords ; 
but long ago, the bishops had lost the siiperiority 
which could legitimatise their authority, and the lay 
power had, on the contrary, gained great influence 
in the world. In France, especially since the thir- 
teenth century, royalty, by displaying a character of 
kindness, had favoured the progress of the people in 
things material, intellectual, and even moral ; and if 
Francis I., notwithstanding a personal character by no 
means estimable, holds a brilliant place in history, it 
must be ascribed to this quality in French royalty. 
But almost all the bishop-princes of Geneva who pre- 
ceded the Reformation, cared little for the develop- 
ment of the nation, except it were to thwart it. John 
of Savoy and Pierre de la Baiime were nothing 
but selfish dissolute priests. No halo was seen on 
their brows ; and thus they found one day that there 
was no firm ground under their feet. Ecclesiastical 
authorities, even when honest, are apt to despise the 
temporal interests of their subjects ; and as unhappily 
spiritual interests do not much affect ambitious pre- 
lates, the immortal souls and the earthly liberties of 
their flocks are equally oppressed by them. 

The duke, who knew better than anybody the 

* Lettre de La Baume, Arcliives de Geneye sous le n° 934. iUin. 
(TArchiol. ii. pp. 8, 9. 


■weakness of the episcopal power (which he had mainly 
caused), felt his ambition increase, and resolved to 
put an end to it. With this intent he would take a 
step which, by giving him what Savoy had coveted 
for centuries, would fortify him with a title calculated 
to impose silence on the complaints of the prelate, 
the accusations of the fugitives, and the demands 
of the Swiss. He determined to convene a general 
council, composed almost exclusively of his creatures, 
from which he would obtain, either by persuasion or 
by a great display of force, the homage due to a 
sovereign. To attain his object he began by toning 
down his insolent conduct and his unjust pretensions. 
Treasurer Boulet, first cause of all these disturbances, 
being obliged to furnish his accounts at the hotel-de- 
ville, was condemned. The citizens imprisoned or 
fined received the promise of an early amnesty; and 
imagining he had thus gained every heart, Charles 
desired the people to be called together, that aU the 
community might know of the good-will he entertained 
towards them. The syndics and the bishop's vicar, 
perceiving that the fatal hour had arrived, refused his 
demand. They were not strong, but fear came upon 
them in that solemn moment when they saw Geneva 
suspended over the abyss. Gruet, the vicar, stam- 
mered out some excuses : ' Nobody would come to 
the council,' he said, ' but rabble and ruffians.' It 
was precisely what the duke wanted. Being already 
master of Geneva and claiming to make everythmg 
bend under his absolute will, he would not allow Gruet 
to finish his speech: 'It is my council's advice,' he 
said, 'that the people should assemble to-morrow, 
Sunday, at eight in the forenoon, in the cloister of 


St. Pierre. Have this published by sound of trumpet, 
and let the heads of families be informed by sending 
from door to door.' Then turning to the vicar, he 
added : ' You wlU be present with all the episcopal 
councU.' He informed them that he would visit the 
assembly on his way to mass, and would then tell 
them his pleasure ; so that the council might prepare 
their answer during service-time, and he would receive 
it on his way back. The ducal partisans ran from 
street to street and from house to house in order to 
muster all their forces at an assembly called in the 
name of a prince whose subjects lived at Chambery 
and Turin.* The liberals, who were still numerous 
in Geneva, pretty generally kept away : they did not 
consider a councU assembled by the duke to be legi- 

The next day, Sunday, December 10, the great bell 
of the cathedral having summoned the citizens, men 
whose names are for the most part unknown appeared 
to form a council. The most important portion in 
this popular assembly was not the people, but the 
duke, who appeared between nine and ten o'clock, 
accompanied by the Bishop of Maurienne, the episcopal 
council, the chancellor of Savoy, and his chamber- 
lains, esquires, officers, and many gentlemen from his 
states ; before and behind came the archers of Savoy. 
Carrying their halberds with a threatening au', and 
impatient to reduce this herd of shopkeepers under 
their prince, these mercenaries gave the meeting the 
appearance of a battle-field rather than of a council. 

* Registrea du Couseil du 9 novembre 1525. Jounial de Balard, p. 28. 
Savyon, A/males, p. 127. JBesan^mi Ungues, pav Galiffe fils, p. 276. 


Nothing like it had ever been witnessed in the city. 
Resolved that day to make the conquest of Geneva, 
Charles proudly mounted to the place reserved for 
the sovereign ; his courtiers drew up to the right and 
left, and his soldiers formed in a circle round the 
assembly, while above their heads flashed the broad- 
pointed bills at the end of the long staves, as if to 
frighten the citizens. The duke reclining upon the 
throne, which was covered with rich tapestry, ordered 
his chancellor to explain his sovereign intentions. The 
latter, making a low bow, read : ' About three months 
ago, as the duke was preparing to cross the mountains 
on ItaHan busiaess, he learnt that certain seditious 
people, who have fled to the country of the League, 
were sowing dissension between him and the bishop, 
between Geneva and the Swiss. . . Whereupon his 
Highness, who has always been a mild and gentle 
prince to this city, seeing it threatened by a frightfal 
calamity, neglected his own interests, hastened to you, 
and has spared neither money nor pains to restore 
peace among you. In return for so many benefits, 
this magnanimous prince asks but one thing . . . that 
you should recognise him as your sovereign protector.' 
The protection was evidently a mere veil to hide 
dominion and despotism ; accordingly the few honest 
citizens there present were dispirited and silent. It 
was necessaiy to make haste, for the duke wished to 
avert all opposition. Having read the paper, the 
chancellor stepped forward, and cried as loud as he 
could, for his voice was weak : ' Are you willing to 
live in obeditace to your bishop and prince, and under 
the protection of my lord duke?' . . . The question 
should now have been put to the vote ; but the 
VOL. I. c c 


impatient mamelukes carried it by acclamation, shout- 
ing out with all their might : ' Yes, yes ! ' The chan- 
cellor resumed : ' My lord, seeing the great love this 
city feels towards him, cancels all the penalties it has 
incurred, takes off aU sequestrations, remits aU fines, 
which amount to twenty-two thousand crowns, and 
pardons all rebels — those excepted who have fled to 
Switzerland.' Such are usually the amnesties of ty- 
rants ; those are excepted who ought to be included, 
and those included who do not need it. ' Thanks, 
thanks ! ' replied the mamelukes. ' As my chancellor 
may not have been distinctly heard,' said Charles to 
Syndic Montyon, ' have the goodness to repeat what 
he has said in my name.' After this, his Highness, 
with his chancellor, courtiers, gentlemen, and halber- 
diers, left the assembly and went to mass. It looked 
like a triumphal procession. As for those left behind, 
if there were venal citizens who dared to raise then* 
heads, there were others whose uneasy consciences 
bowed them down.* 

As soon as the Genevese were left to themselves, 
Montyon, a fanatical partisan of Savoy, got on a bench 
and repeated, not without embarrassment, the chancel- 
lor's address. The halberdiers being away, the assent 
was no longer unanimous. There were stiU many 
honest men in Geneva who clung to the ancient insti- 
tutions of the State and held a Savoyard usurpation in 
horror. Some, at the very moment when the liberty 
of their country was about to be thrown into the abyss, 

* Bomvard, CKcowty. ii. pp. 424-427. Qaliffe, 3IaUrmux pour V Sistoire 
de Genive, ii. pp. 318-323. Journal de Balard, pp. 28-30. Gautier MS. 
The conclusion of ttis council is wanting in the Itegisters : it was pro- 
bably suppressed as an infringement of the liberties of Geneva. 


were smitten witli a last love for her. ' The address 
is full of guile,' they said. Many, however, acceded to 
the ' protection,' but added, ' saving the authority of 
the prince-bishop and the liberties of the city,' which 
nullified the vote.* 

Such was the Council of Halberds. It had given 
Geneva the Duke of Savoy for her protector^ and had 
imposed on the citizens obedience towards that prince. 
An encroaching, powerful, able court, like that of Tu- 
rin, could easily make an hereditary sovereignty out 
of such a concession. But a course of violence and 
stratagem provokes the resistance of noble minds. 
After the action of despotism, the reaction of liberty 
was to begin ; the bow too violently bent by the duke 
was to break in his hand. 

The next day, in fact, Charles, who fancied himself 
already prince of the city, wishing to enter upon his 
new career, requested the city to hand over to him the 
jurisdiction in criminal matters, which was refused. 
Nor was this the only check ; the procurator-fiscal 
having, by his Highness's orders, sent from house to 
house to coUect votes against the alliance with the Swiss 
many flatly refused to give them. At this moment the 
duke appeared as if he were stunned. He had matters 
on his mind which troubled and disturbed him ; they 
made him mistrustful and anxious. The assembled 
people had just taken the oath of obedience to him . 
and to his first two requests (such legitimate requests 
as he thought them) they had replied by a No! 
After having given an example of his extreme vio- 
lence, Charles gave another of his extreme weakness. 
He thought Geneva crushed ; but Geneva, even when 

* See preceding note. Eoset MS. liv. ii. ch. yi. 
c c 2 


crushed, alarmed him. He pressed his foot upon her 
neck, but he felt the corpse moving under him. 
Even the mamelukes he began to consider as obstinate 
republicans, secretly defending their independence. 
His head began to reel, his heart to fail him. The essen- 
tial trait of his character, it will be remembered, was 
to begin everything and finish nothing. This union of 
violence and folly, of which several Roman emperors 
have furnished examples, was found also in Charles. 
At the moment he had gained an important victory, 
and just as it was necessary for him to remain on the 
field of battle to profit by it, he turned his back and 
fled precipitately into Piedmont. It was asserted 
that Beatrice had recalled him. 'Venus overcame 
Pallas,' says Bonivard. The prior of St. Victor is 
always inclined to be sarcastic. But if (as is pos- 
sible) it was the desire, to join the duchess which 
induced Charles III. to let that city of Geneva 
slip fi'om his hands, which the house of Savoy had 
coveted for ages, it is a proof that if he was violent 
enough to take it, he was too weak to keep it. How- 
ever that may be, on the 12th of December, 1525, the 
duke quitted the city, and from that day neither he 
nor his successors entered it again. If Charles had 
remained, and followed the advice of his ministers, 
he would probably have established his authority, and 
bound Geneva to Rome. The triumph of the power 
of Savoy at the extremity of Lake Leman would have 
had serious consequences. But the victory he was 
about to win — which he had even gained ... was lost 
by his cowardly desertion, and lost for ever.* 

* Registres du Oonseil, d^cemtre 1525. Journal de Balard, p. 33. 
Gautier MS. 


So did not think the syndic Montyon and fifty of 
the most servile mamelukes. Proud of the decision of 
the Council of Halberds, they resolved to make it 
known to the Swiss. The horseman intrusted with 
the message departed, and, on his arrival at Friburg, 
delivered the letters to the avoyer. ' The fugitives 
are deceiving you,' said the writers; 'the entire com- 
munity desires to live under the protection of our 
most dread lord the Duke of Savoy.' This accusation 
revived all the energy of the huguenots. The mame- 
lukes charged them with lying. . . From that hour they 
feared neither the dungeon nor the sword. Imprison 
them in Caesar's tower, in the castle of Bonne, or else- 
where, it matters not : they are ready to expose them- 
selves to the violence of the enemy. ' Appoint a com- 
missioner,' said some of them ; ' let him come with us 
to Geneva, and he will tell you which of the two has 
Hed, we or the mamelukes.' John Lullin and two or 
three of his friends departed without a safe-conduct, 
accompanied by De Sergine, a Friburg notary, resolved 
to prove that Geneva desired to be free. The un- 
expected news of Lullin's arrival spread through the 
city ; numbers of citizens immediately crowded round 
the bold and imprudent huguenot, gazed upon him 
with tenderness, and anxiously asked for news of the 
exiles. Fathers, brothers, sons, fi-iends came in great 
anxiety of mind to hear the tidings of those they loved 
dearest. ' Alas ! ' said Lullin, ' how can I tell of their 
misery and sorrow? ' . . . He described them as exiled, 
oppressed with fears for their country, despised by 
some, iU-treated by others, destitute, ' reduced to 
Job's dunghiU,' obliged in order to support their fami- 
lies to receive alms from such strangers as had com- 


passion on their wretcliedness. But here the generous 
huguenot, whose wounded heart was bursting with 
tears and full of bitterness, could contaia himself no 
longer : ' It is you,' he exclaimed, ' it is you that in- 
crease our sorrow — yes, you ! ' He indignantly com- 
plaiaed that the Genevans remaining in Geneva dis- 
avowed those who had left it to save her independence, 
and made them pass for liars. He asked them how it 
was that, as the foreign prince had fled beyond the Alps, 
Geneva did not reclaim the liberty which he had taken 
away. ' Is it thus that citizens defend the ancient 
rights handed down by their fathers ? ' This touching 
language, the presence of him who uttered it and of 
~ the two or three fugitives at his side, the sight of their 
poverty, their distress, their patriotism, and their 
heroic courage, stirred the citizens. The Savoyard 
agents, Balleyson, Saleneuve, and their soldiers, re- 
mained in the city to no purpose : Geneva awoke 
from her slumbers. ' Triburg desires to know the 
real state of this city?' said a few patriots to Sergine; 
' come, then, with us to the council — come and see 
for yourself.' The most energetic men were stiU in 
Switzerland ; but by degrees all in Geneva who loved 
liberty were seen to shake off the sUence to which 
they had been reduced. They encouraged one another 
to make an imposing demonstration. Erelong the 
justification of the foreigners took place, and it was 
conducted with all the solemnity that a simple people 
could give it.* 

* Gautier MS. GalifFe, Matiriaux, ii. p. 333. Spon, Sist. de Geahje, 
ii. p. 385. 




(December 1525 lo Febetjahy 1526.) 

ON the 22iid of December, ten days after Charles's 
departure, crowds of citizens poured from every 
quarter towards the h6tel-de-ville. The syndics and 
the council, who were then sitting, were informed that 
certain persons desired to be admitted ; the doors were 
opened, and the petitioners entered. At their head 
walked John Bandiere, a man about sixty years old, 
whose son Ami (syndic in the Reformation year) 
was among the fugitives. This venerable man ad- 
vanced, surrounded by the children of his son and of 
other exiles.* With him came several citizens who, 
though they had remained in the background during 
recent events, might yet with good right appear in 
the front line. There was the amiable Ami Porral, 
afterwards sjmdic, who zealously embraced the 

* The official Registers of the Council (Dec. 22) say : ' Bandiere 
leadiag three or four hoys.' Syndic Balard, an eye-witness, says : ' Ban- 
diere, accompanied hy the children of some of those who have retired to 
Germany.' (Journal, p. 34.) Bonivard says the same, Chrmiq. ii. p. 435. 
It is therefore a mistake in a writer, otherwise very learned in the history 
of Geneva, to say that : ' There was not a single little child with him.' 
(Galiffe, MaUriaux, &c. ii. p. 334.) His son did not fall into the same 
error. (Galiffe fils, Besangon Hugues, p. 277.) 


evangelical faith; Pierre de Joye, cousin of tliat De 
Joye whom Bishop John had desired to put to death ; 
the bold Robert Vandel, syndic in. 1529, his brother 
Peter, Sept, De Chapeaurouge, Falquet, Lect, Dela- 
palud, Malbuisson, Favre, LuUin, Denis Hugues, son 
of the estimable Besangon: in short, says a document 
of the time, about 100 citizens, the flower of Geneva. 
These men desired not only to bear testimony in favour 
of men unjustly accused; but observing that those to 
whom the reins of the State had been confided were 
slumbering, that the chariot was leaving the track and 
about to fall into the ditch, they thought it their duty 
to set the drivers on the right road. Bandiere, his 
face wet with tears (says a manuscript), spoke first: 
' Most honourable lords,' he said, ' you see these chil- 
dren ; do you not know their fathers ? Are not these 
poor little ones orphans already, though their fathers 
are stUl alive ? ' * — ' Yes,' exclaimed the councillors. — 
' Those citizens,' continued Bandiere, ' who, for having 
defended the liberties of Geneva, were compelled, 
through a thousand dangers, to seek refiige in Ger- 
many yonder, f — are not they good men ?'...' They 
are,' was the answer. ' Are they not citizens of this 
city — the good men whose fathers, sons, and con- 
nections you have before you?' — It was cheerfully 

Having thus the testimony of the council in favour 
of the refugees — a testimony of which the Friburg 
deputy made a note — the venerable Bandiere con- 
tinued : ' These refugees, whom you acknowledge to 

* Bonivaid, Chroniq. ii. p. 435. 

t By 'Germany' they meant German Switzerland. 


be good men, are surprised that you should have dis- 
avowed them in letters sent to the League. For this 
reason, we who are here present declare boldly that 
we approve them, both in their words and in their acts, 
and count them to be faithful and devoted citizens. 
At the same time, most honourable lords, we protest 
against every encroachment attempted by a foreign 
power on the rights of our prince and the liberties of 
the city.' 

Thus the slumbering Geneva, whom Charles had 
thought dead, cast oflp the bonds with which that 
prince had bound her, and, rejecting the duke with 
one hand, called the fugitives back with the other. 
Bandiere handed in his declaration in writing, and 
demanded letters-testimonial. Syndic Montyon, in 
great embarrassment, said that it was necessary to 
deliberate before answering. ' Where is the necessity ?' 
exclaimed the energetic Robert Vandel. — ' It is not 
the custom to give testimonials here,' was the reply. 
The huguenot, astonished at this refusal of a simple 
receipt, grew impatient, and, turning towards De Ser- 
gine, desired him to draw up the act himself. 

The syndics and councillors had not yet remarked 
this person. ' Not imagining they had such a visitor 
in their house,' says Bonivard, 'they looked at him 
with astonishment.' Their astonishment increased 
when they saw the Friburger rise and say, addressing 
the whole assembly : ' Sirs, do you acknowledge those 
who are in the country of the Helvetians to be men 
worthy of aU honour ; and do you ratify all that may 
be done by them for the welfare of this illustrious 
city ? ' The syndics and councillors, surprised at this 
extraordinary question, kept silent ; but all the other 


citizens present, voting as if in general council, an- 
swered ' Yes ! ' De Sergine, calling the council to 
witness the complete approval that had been given 
the fugitives, withdrew, followed by the hundred citi- 
zens, proud of having made the voice of the people 
heard in the very bosom of an enslaved senate.* 

De Sergine, unwilling to lose a moment, sat down 
without ceremony on the steps of the h6tel-de-ville, 
as might have been done, perhaps, in the simple re- 
publics of antiquity, and prepared to draw up the 
letters-testimonial that were required of him. A cer- 
tain number of patriots stood around him ; others went 
through the city reporting what had just taken place. 
Men rejoiced everywhere; they directed their steps 
towards the h6tel-de-viUe, remembering that God 
never forsakes a people that does not forsake itself. 
Every minute fi'esh citizens came and increased the 
strange assembly gathered round the notary, and 
every new-comer was eager to have his name at the 
foot of the declaration. AU were speaking and ar- 
guing at once ; some wept, others laughed ; they felt 
that a new breath was passing over the city, and that 
its ancient liberties were recovering their vitality. 
All voices united in proclaiming the praises of the 
fugitives. 'Yes, certainly they are better than us,' 
said the crowd, 'for they have forsaken everything 
that our liberties might be preserved.' For a long 
time no such enthusiasm and joy had been witnessed 
in Geneva ; and comparisons were drawn between this 
noble assembly, where every one gave his name at the 

* Registres du Conseil du 22 dScembre 1522. Galiffe, Materiaux, 
ii. pp. 324-330, where the speeches are given at length. Gautier MS. 
Spon, Hist, de Geneve, &c. 


peril of his life, and that gloomy Council of the Hal- 
berds, held in the duke's presence : on one side pomp 
and tyranny ; on the other, simplicity and liberty. 
Forsaken by the bishop, threatened by the duke, 
watched by the Count of Genevois, surrounded by 
the armed soldiers of Saleneuve and Balleyson, ever 
prompt to acts of violence, the citizens followed each 
other, from noon until five o'clock, to sign the docu- 
ment which was to secure their alliance with Switzer- 
land and the triumph of their liberties. 

The mamelukes, however, wishing to stop a move- 
ment which threatened to rob the duke of all his recent 
advantages, had recourse to secret practices. Creeping 
up to some of the patriots of their acquaintance whom 
they saw approaching, they would say : ' Beware ! 
when the duke returns with his army, he will lay his 
hand on these testimonials, he will count the names, 
he will mark the most guilty with a cross, and send 
them to rejoin the shades of Berthelier and Levrier.' 
The duke had, in truth, his revenge in reserve ; but the 
citizens heeded it not, and replied to this manoeuvre by 
giving in their names with greater enthusiasm. The 
approach of the festivals of Christmas and of the New 
Year compelled many to stay in their shops, who were 
thus prevented from signing ; to provide against which, 
men went from house to house, asking who would vote 
for the alliance with Switzerland. There were not a 
hundred persons in Geneva who refused. The protest 
of the h6tel-de-viUe decided the fate of the city. Many 
of the first subscribers were in the number of those 
who received the Gospel most gladly. The dawn of 
the emancipation which was then beginning to appear, 
was to be followed by the full light of the Reformation. 


But before that glorious day arrived, what struggles, 
what wars, what dangers, Geneva would still have to 
go through ! * 

Erelong the movement descended, spreading from 
the h6tel-de-ville through aU. the streets of the city; 
and to the noble protest of the principal citizens were 
added the rejoicings of the young folks and of the 
people. The holidays of Christmas and of the New 
Year had arrived. The ' children of Geneva,' masked 
or with blackened faces, paraded the streets to the 
sound of the drum, singing and shouting all over the 
city : ' Long live the huguenots ! ' During this time 
the citizens held frequent meetings both by day and 
by night, at which they boldly called for the return of 
the patriots, though they saw the dangers that woiild 
accompany them. Some of the independents visited 
Switzerland by stealth, to report all that had taken 
place and bring back the fugitives in triumph. 

The Savoyard party, who still had the power in 
their hands, were firmly resolved not to give it up. 
The episcopal council sat all night. The syndics, 
the vicar, and the vidame in particular, were losiog 
their heads. To prevent the movement from suc- 
ceeding, they took useless and contradictory steps, 
calculated rather to iucrease the irritation in men's 
minds : nothing prospered with them. ' Fancy how 
surprised they are,' wrote the worthy Porral to 
Hugues. ' They wUl go mad, please God. The 
vidame is always indoors with the gout; may God 
keep him there ! They have forbidden the boatmen 

• Eegistres du Consei] du 22 d^cembre 1526. Journal de Balard, pp. 
34, 85. Galiffe, Materiaux, ii. pp. 330-333. Pictet, Hid. de Genhie, ii. 
pp. 401^1:08. Gautier MS. Spon, Hist, de Geneve. 


to ferry anybody over the water at night. . . They 
are afraid that God will give them what they deserve.' 
The procurator-fiscal issued writs against all who had 
signed the protest. ' If you will not answer accord- 
ing to my pleasure,' he said to them, ' I will force you 
to speak.' — ' Really,' said Porral, who already felt the 
need of another liberty than political liberty, ' really, 
I think that after they have compelled us to deny our 
parents, neighbours, and friends, they will constrain 
us next to deny God himself.' 

Yet, if the party of Savoy appeared ' siek,' that of 
liberty was still very weak. Both portions of the 
community turned at the same time towards the 
bishop. ' His authority is in question,' said certain 
patriots ; ' he will side with us against Savoy. Let 
us summon him.' — ' The bishop cannot side with 
rebels,' said the episcopal council and the mamelukes; 
' let us hasten his return.' As the prelate was still 
beyond the Alps, the two parties wrote to him, each 
for itself: ' Return speedily; without you we can do 
nothing.' * 

This was embarrassiag to Pierre de la Baume. On 
the one hand, he clung to his principality, and at cer- 
tain moments he would have withstood the duke ; but 
on the other hand, he felt himself unable to resist 
that prince, and thus he fluctuated perpetually be- 
tween duty and fear. He started for Geneva, not 
knowing what he would do there. 

On Thursday, February 1, 1526, one hundred 
and sixty mounted citizens rode out of the city to 

* Registres du Conseil du 22, 29 d^oembre 1525. Bonivaid, Chroniq, 
ii. p. 425. Galiffe, Materiaux, ii. pp. 339, 340. 


meet tlie prelate: 'Why, they are all huguenots,' said 
BioUey, an ardent mameluke and secretary to the 
council, as he saw them pass. There was however 
something else. On each side of the bishop rode 
Saleneuve and Balleyson, both devoted servants of 
the duke, and Charles, distrusting La Baume, ex- 
pected, that he would obey them as if they were his 
guardians. The prelate loved neither his Highness nor 
the citizens of Geneva, 'but only to fiU his purse, that 
he might empty it afterwards in playing gaudeamus,' 
says a contemporary. The two chamberlains, how- 
ever, kept so close to him that he could not speak 
freely to anybody. He behaved politely towards 
them, and seemed to be their very humble servant ; 
but as soon as he arrived at the bridge of Arve, where 
Savoy ended and the Genevese territory began, the 
bishop spurred his horse, and rode in front of his 
' guardians,' as a sign that he was lord and master. 
Then assuming his right position, he obliged them 
from that moment to speak to him uncovered.* 

The Savoyard nobles were determined, however, 
not to lose their prey. The next day (February 2), 
after dinner, as the two guardians were keeping the 
bishop ' at a gaming-table,' it was whispered him 
that Robert Vandel wanted him. Vandel, one of 
the Genevese liberals, possessed aU his confidence, 
and the bishop desired much to see him; but Sale- 
neuve and BaUeyson continued their game, and Pierre 
de la Baume knew not what to do to escape them. 
Unable to hold out any longer, he rose, alleging some 
very natural pretext, and hastened to a little room 

♦ Bonivard, Chrmiq. ^ pp. 430, 431. 


at the back of the house, where Vandel was. ' Well, 
Robert,' said the prelate rather sharply, ' they tell me 
that you have made a declaration in the city contraiy 
to my authority.' — ' You have been deceived,' replied 
Vandel, who read him the protest of the hotel-de- 
ville. ' Well, well,' said the prelate, ' there is no 
great harm in that.' Vandel then represented to him 
that if Geneva owed a double obedience, one to the 
duke, another to the bishop, as the Council of Hal- 
berds had determined, the first would certainly 
swallow up the second. Pierre de la Baume had no 
doubt of it. — ' There is somebody,' he said, lowering 
his voice, ' very glad of my coming, but he will be 
vexed afterwards. . . I will not lose an inch of my 
jurisdiction, were I to spend all my property in de- 
fending it. I will have no alliance with the Swiss, 
however; this I promised the duke.' Vandel repre- 
sented to him that the Genevans sought this alliance 
only to protect the episcopal sovereignty against the 
usurpations of Savoy ; and then, knowing the prelate's 
avarice, he added shrewdly : ' When the alliance with 
the Swiss is concluded, we will proceed against the 
duke's creatures, we will confiscate their property, 
and, my lord . . . that will do you no harm.' — ' What 
are you saying, Robert?' Vandel explained his 
meaning more fully. Such language moved the bishop 
to turn round. — ' Really,' he answered. ' Well, we 
will talk more fully about it another time ; for the 
moment, farewell.' The converted prelate went back 
to his two keepers.* 

* Letter of Ami Porral. Galiffe, Mat&riaux, ii. pp. 341, 342. Boni- 
vard, Chroniq. ii, p. 432. 


The bishop, won over by Vandel, made many re- 
flections during the night, and the next day he desired 
to see the syndics and the council, who had greatly 
irritated him by their concessions to the duke. ' Tell 
me how you have been going on since my departure,' 
he said mildly, and then continued sharply: 'You 
asked me to join in your appeal to Eome, and then 
you withdrew from it without my consent. . . This is 
bad; you should have done your duty without fear, 
whatever wrong might be done you. . . I will not 
give up the appeal ; I would rather convene the peo- 
ple. . . God and the world shall be satisfied with me.' 
La Baume had seen the duke in Piedmont. ' His 
Highness,' said he, turning towards his episcopal 
council, ' told me that he meant to have the sove- 
reignty of Geneva, and asked me for a day to come 
to an understanding about it; but I answered im- 
mediately that although Pierre de la Baume is his 
humble subject, his Highness has no business in my 
city. . . I am determined to maintain the rights of my 
church and the liberties of my city — until death.' 
Then turning again to the syndics : ' As for those who 
have retired into Switzerland,' he said, ' I hold them 
to be honest people, and, saving the alliance, I ap- 
prove of all they may do.' 

On a sudden the bishop asked himself what he 
should say to the duke if such language was reported 
to him. . . Startled at his own courage, he became 
confused, hesitated, and, speaking. low to the first 
syndic, he said : ' I wish you did as they do at Venice. 
Your council is not secret ; it ought to be so. Under- 
stand clearly that I embrace the city party; but the 
benefices I possess in his Highness's states compel me 


to do SO secretly. . . If in any circumstance I seem 
opposed to your interests, remember that it is in appear- 
ance only.' At the same time, the bishop wrote and 
told the fugitives of his intention to pay all the ex- 
penses which the independence of the city necessitated ; 
but he added : ' If I write you the contrary, pay no 
attention to it; I shall do so only through fear of the 
duke, and not to make him angry.' The spirit of his 
policy was deception. Such was the last bishop of 

The annual nomination of the syndics was about 
to take place, and the city was in great commotion. 
Both parties counted on this election : the mamelukes 
to establish the duke in Geneva, and the huguenots to 
expel him. The great patriots were ia exile ; victory 
seemed assured to the ducals. Yet the timidest even 
of the huguenots took courage, and swore to elect 
' honest men who would secure the liberty of the city.' 
The general councU having assembled on the 4th of 
February, 1526, the mameluke syndic Montyon pro- 
posed eight candidates, from whom, according to the 
order prescribed by the duke, they must elect four 
syndics. Then Robert Vandel stood up : ' I am au- 
thorised by the citizens,' he said to Montyon, ' to in- 
form you that they will not be muzzled (hrigidari).' 
Then, turning to the people, he asked : ' Is it not true ? ' 
All replied : ' Yes, yes ! ' many at the same time call- 
mg out ' Jean Philippe.' Philippe was not only not 
one of the eight, but he was one of the exiles. ' We 
will make Jean Philippe syndic,' repeated the hu- 
guenots, ' and thus show that he and the others in 

* Joufnal de Sdlard, pp. 41-43. Boniv.ard, Chroniq. ii. p. 433. Gaiitier 
MS. Savyon, Annales, p. 130. 

VOL. I. D D 


Switzerland are good citizens.' If Besangon Hugues 
was not the popular choice, it was probably because 
the people were stiU. angry with that noble exile for 
his refusal in the preceding year. 

At this moment the bishop's procurator-fiscal Man- 
dalla appeared. La Baume's courage was not heroic; 
he trembled at the idea of a purely huguenot election, 
and desired to get a moderate list — half servile, half 
liberal — passed. In his name, MandaUa proposed 
four candidates, among whom was the traitor Cartelier. 
' That will quiet all angiy feelings,' said the procu- 
rator. It was not a clever manceuvre, for CarteHer's 
name was sufficient to discredit the others. 

The polling began. Each man went up to the secre- 
tary and gave in his vote. The most energetic of the 
two parties counted the votes received. The pro- 
curator-fiscal watched the election with anxiety. Soon, 
vexed and dispirited, he ran and told the bishop that 
the people took no account of his message. . . Pierre 
de la Baume was frightened. The zealous fiscal ran 
agaia to the polling-place : ' My lord conjures you,' 
he said, ' at least not to elect Jean Philippe, consider- 
ing that he is not in the city.' — ' We will make no 
choice that wiU be disagreeable to the bishop,' they 
answered politely, and at the same time continued 
giving their votes to the exUe. The people of Geneva 
were determined to show, in a striking manner, that 
they were breaking with Savoy and uniting with Swit- 
zerland, and treading boldly in the path of liberty. 
The bishop, still more alarmed, finding that his pro- 
curator obtained nothing, sent his vicar to protest, in 
his name, against so dangerous an election. ' It shall 
be done as our prince pleases,' said they courteously; 


and then, 'without noise or murmur, were elected 
four huguenots. Sire Jean Philippe (they said in the 
city) received more votes than any of the others.' 
The citizens cared no more for the bishop than for the 
duke, when the reestablishment of their liberties was 
concerned. The people had never been more imited ; 
the opposition counted only eleven, and after the elec- 
tion everybody declared that they sided with the 
majority. They said one to another that a free and 
courageous people, if God comes to their aid, can never 

Confasion was in the bishop's palace. As soon as 
opposition is made to the duke, said some, revolution 
breaks its bounds . . . this election must be annulled. 
The bishop ordered that another general council 
should be held on the morrow, and, calculating on 
his personal influence, he appeared at it, attended by 
his councillors and officers ; but the people were deaf, 
and confirmed Philippe's election ; only they appointed 
his brother-in-law (D. Franc) to take his place during 
his absence. Not satisfied with this, the people re- 
pealed all statutes contrary to the liberties of Geneva 
passed under fear of Charles of Savoy. The bishop, 
alarmed at these republican proceedings, exclaimed: 
' Is there nobody that wishes to maintain these ordi- 
nances?' No one answered. Everything fell, and 
the ancient constitution was restored. After havinsr 
changed the laws, they set about changing the persons. 
They would have no partisans of Savoy to preserve 
the liberties of Geneva. Huguenot councillors were 
elected in the place of mamelukes. The restoration of 
Genevese liberties had been so promptly accomplished 
that the ducal faction could not believe their eyes. 

D D 2 


' Our brewers were never more astounded,' said the 
huguenots. (The brewers were the men who brewed 
or plotted treason.) There were men in the ducal 
party who changed their opinions as the wind changes ; 
they were now seen accosting the patriots and shaking 
hands with them. . . ' See,' said the huguenots, ' how 
well they counterfeit the air of good fellowship ! ' . . . 
Then all true friends of their country exclaimed: 
' Let us praise God ! Laus Deo !' * 

Thus did liberty triumph. The Genevese people had 
restored their franchises, dismissed the mamelukes, 
rejected the cruel protectorate of Charles III., sought 
the alliance of Switzerland ; and after all that, they 
gave God the gloiy.f 

As the cause of Savoy was lost, the bishop, so long 
wavering, made a show of placing himself on the side of 
the free and the bold. He sent Pierre Bertholo to carry 
this important news to Jean Philippe and aU those 
exiles of whom he was so afraid. The latter had not 
lost their time ; they endeavoured to enlighten the 
Swiss, and Hugues continually argued and repeated 
that Geneva was not under subjection to the duke. 
At this time Bertholo arrived. 'The ordinances of 
Savoy are repealed,' he told the refugees ; ' patriots 
replace the serviles everywhere, and one of you has 
been elected syndic — Jean Philippe!' They could 
hardly believe this news. What ! one of these wretched 
fuo-itives, of these mendicants (as their enemies called 
them), raised by the people of Geneva to the head of the 

* Eegistres du Conseil des 4, 5, 10, 12 fevrier. Journal de Balard, pp. 
41-45. Galiffe, MaUriaux, ii. p. 347. Bonivard, Chroniq. ii. pp. 436-439. 

■f GautierMS. Eegistres du Conseil des 11 et 13 ftviier 1526. Balurd's 
Journal, p. 48. 


State ! . . . What a refatation of the ducal calumnies ! 
But the ' foreigners ' did not forget themselves in 
the joy which this message caused them. Taking 
Bertholo with them, they proceeded to the Bernese 
council, and reported the unexpected intelligence 
brought by the messenger. ' Up to the present time,' 
said the avoyer, 'I have invited Besangon Hugues 
alone, as your chief, to sit down at my side ; now, 
Messire Jean Philippe, take your seat above Besan9on, 
as syndic of Geneva.' The alliance would no longer 
meet with obstacles. 'We accept you as feUow- 
freemen,' continued the avoyer, ' without heed to those 
growlers and their threats, which do not last long 
now-a-days.' * 

The people of Geneva were about to rise, if we may 
so speak, from the grave. They had acted with de- 
cision, with energy, with unwavering firnmess. They 
desired to have for their magistrates none but men 
able to maintain their laws and independence, and 
had boldly erased from the code of the republic aU 
ordinances contrary to the liberties of Geneva, Ac- 
cordingly, ' a person of mark,' who lived at the begin- 
ning of the seventeenth century, exclaimed, after 
studying these facts : ' This history is a marvellous one 
and calls to my mind a tract in the Philetes of Plato 
touching the moral good comprised in the three ideas : 
Reality, Proportion, and Truth. It is ftiU of the 
special marks of the wise and merciftd providence 
of God, who has guided, up to this present hour, this 
ship of his miracles through an infinity of shoals. 
The more thoroughly we contemplate human action, 

* Eegistres du Conaeil du 24 ftvrier. Bonivard, Chraniq. ii. p. 439 


SO much the deeper appear the counsels of God.' * 
What we are about to see appears to confirm these 

* ' Lettre d'un persoimage de marque ' among the Berne MSS. Historia 
Helvetica, p. 125. This letter is ascribed to Theodore Godefroi, councillor 
of state, historiographer to the king, and secretary to the emhassy of 
Prance for the general peace of Munster. I would rather ascribe it to 
his brother Jacques, a learned lawyer and protestant. 




(Febrtjabt to Atjgusi 1526.) 

THEN a step was taken without which the Refoi- 
mation would never have been established in 
Geneva. In the morning of the 20th of February 
the representatives of Berne, Friburg, and Geneva 
resolved to conclude solemnly the alliance between 
the three cities, for which the people had sighed 
during so many years. They met, they gave their 
hands, affection and confidence were in every feature. 
' In the name of the most holy and most high Trinity,' 
said the three free states, 'in the name of God the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we reciprocally pro- 
mise mutual friendship and intercourse in order that 
we may be able to preserve the good that God has 
given us in justice, repose, and true peace. . . And if 
hereafter one or many should wish to molest the 
syndics, councils, or freemen of the city of Geneva 
in their persons, honour, goods, or estate, we, the 
avoyers, councils, and freemen of the cities of Berne 
and Friburg — by virtue of our oath made and sworn 
— are bound to give the said city favour, aid, and 
succour, and to march out our armies ... at their 



charge, however.' * The required formalities having 
been fulfilled: ' Gentlemen,' said Jean Philippe, 'we 
wiU depart and carry this good news ourselves to our 
country.' The councils of Berne and Friburg ordered 
that a number of deputies fi-om each canton equal to 
that of the fugitives should accompany them, with 
power to seal the alliance at Geneva. All the exiles 
left on the same day; but how different was the 
return from that breathless flight which had not long 
ago brought them to Friburg ! ' They went, not in 
fear and dread as they had come, but taking the 
high road through the Pays de Vaud, where all 
strove to do them honour ; for,' says Bonivard, ' they 
still smelt the reek of the roast meat of Morat.' 

On the 23rd of February the news of the speedy 
arrival of the exiles and delegates of the cantons 
spread through Geneva; citizen told it to citizen, 
great was the joy, and arrangements were made for 
their reception. The syndics on horseback, carrying 
their batons, followed by all who had horses, went 
out to meet them, and the people collected near the 
Swiss gate to receive them. A salute of guns an- 
nounced their approach. They walked three abreast : 
in the middle was a Genevan fugitive, on his right 
and left a deputy of Berne and of Friburg : this order, 
continued through the whole line, announced more 
clearly than all the rest the close union of the three 
cities. Geneva, allied to the Swiss, might be able 
to preserve its independence ; Geneva was saved. A 
conversion had been wrought in its people. Hitherto 

* IZist. HelvMigue, v. p. 10. We have followed the original document, 
which is still to he seen in the public lihrary at Beme. 


they liad turned to the south ; now they turned to- 
wards the north : they began to cast off Rome and to 
catch a glimpse of Wittemberg. There are certain 
movements in nations that transform their destinies. 
The citizens could not take their eyes off those 
unhappy men who had had such difficulty in escap- 
ing the archers of Savoy, and who, strange to say, 
were returning holding Berne and Friburg by the 
hand. They had gone away, stiU disposed to appeal 
to Rome ; but having heard much talk in Switzerland 
of the Reformation, they were to be the first to wel- 
come Farel and the Gospel to Geneva. . . Relations and 
friends pressed in their arms these fugitives, whom 
they had thought they should never see again. ' They 
were sumptuously entertained at the h6tel-de-ville. A 
morality on the said alliance was performed, and a 
bonfire was lighted on the Place Molard.' * The 
Council of Two Hundred was convened. 

This important council assembled, but instead of 
two hundred citizens, three hundred and twenty met 
together. This sitting was to be a festival; every- 
body desired to be present. It was known that 
Hugues would speak : the respect they felt for the 
great citizen and his companions in misfortune, the 
adventures he had to relate, mixed up (it was re- 
ported) with strange facts, excited interest and curio- 
sity. Hugues rose to speak : there was deep silence : 
' You know, sirs,' he began, ' that five or six months 
ago, on the morrow of Holy Cross (September 15, 
1525), we left here in great haste by different roads; 

* Berne MS. Histoire de Geneve, usually ascribed to Bonivard. See 
also Gautier MS. Eegistres du Conseil du 24 f^vrier, BoniTard, Chroniq. 
ii. pp. 439, 440. 


without communicating with one another, not knowing 
where to go to escape the rage of the most illustrious 
duke, Monseigneur of Savoy. We were warned by 
friends that, on the demand of certain pei'sons in this 
city, the prince was resolved to take us and put us 
ignominiously to death, because we had resisted inno- 
vations opposed to our Uberties. Ah ! sirs, that was no 
child's play, believe me. The archers and agents of 
my lord of Savoy pm'sued us as far as St. Claude, from 
St. Claude to Besan§on, and beyond. . . We had to 
travel day and night in the woods, through wind and 
rain, not knowing where to go in quest of safety. . . 
At last we considered that we had friends at Friburg, 
and thither we went.' 

The citizens, riveting their eyes on Hugues, did 
not lose a word of his narrative and of the details 
which he added. They seemed to bear him com- 
pany through those woods and mountains, among the 
ravines and snow; they fancied they heard behind 
them the tramp of the armed men in pursuit of 
them. . . What struck them was not only the epic 
element in the flight and return of these free men, of 
which ancient Greece would doubtless have made 
one of the finest myths in her history; it was in an 
especial manner the sovereign importance which these 
acts had for them. During those sacred days, Geneva 
and her destinies had turned on their axis; her gates 
were opened on the side of light and liberty; the 
flight, the residence at Berne and Friburg, and the 
return of Hugues and his companions, are one of the 
most important pages in the annals of the city. 

Hugues continued : he told them how Friburg and 
Berne had seen no other means of securing their 


liberties than by receiving them into their alliance. 
. . . ' Here are the letters duly sealed with their great 
seals,' said the noble orator, presenting a parchment. 
' They are written in German ; but I will teU you 
their substance, article by article, without deceiving 
yoLi in any — on my life.' He read the act of alliance, 
and added : ' Sirs, my comrades and I here present 
promise you, on our lives and goods, that the said 
citizenship is such. Consider, sirs, if you will ratify 
and accept it.' The assembly testified its approbation 
with thanks to God, and resolved to convoke a general 
council for the next day.* 

The catholic party and the ducal party were 
aroused. The Swiss alliance, an immense innovation, 
threatened all the conquests they had made with so 
much trouble in Geneva during so many generations. 
The bishop, full of uneasiness, consulted with the ca- 
nons and some others on whom he thought he could 
rely. All told him that if Berne had its way in 
Geneva, there would be no more bishop, no more 
prince. To work then ! All the powers of feudalism 
and the papacy conspired against an alliance which first 
gave Geneva liberty and afterwards the Gospel. At 
\first they wished to prevent the general council from 
meeting. It was customary to summon it by toUiog 
the great bell ; now Canon Lutry had the key of the 
tower where this beU hung. In the evening the 
reverend father, followed by some armed men, climbed 
step by step up the narrow stairs which led to the 
beU-loft, and placed the men in garrison there. ' You 
are here,' he said, ' to defend the beU and not to give 

* Eegistres du Conseil du 24 f(5vrier 1526. 


it up ; ' he then went down, double-locked the door, 
and carried away the key. In the morning the door 
was found to be locked, and Lutry refiised to open it. 
' The canons,' it was said in the city, ' are opposed to 
the assembling of the people.' The irritated citizens 
ran together. ' Whereupon there was a great uproar 
and alarm in the church of St. Pierre, so that De 
Lutry was constrained to open the door and give up 
the ben.' * 

It was aU over ; they resolved stiU to fight a last 
battle, even with the certainty of being defeated. The 
general council met ; the bishop went thither in per- 
son, attended by his episcopal followers, in the hope 
that his presence might intimidate the huguenots. ' I 
am head, pastor, and prince of the community,' he 
said. ' It concerns my affairs, and I wish to know 
what wiU be laid before you.' — ' It is not the custom 
for my lord to be present,' said Hugues ; ' the citizens 
transact none but political matters here f which con- 
cern them whoUy. His presence, however, is always 
pleasing to us, provided nothing be deduced from it 
prejudicial to our liberties.' Thereupon Hugues pro- 
posed the alliance. Then Stephen de la Mare got up. 
In 1519 he had shone in the foremost rank of the 
patriots ; but, an ardent Roman Catholic, he had since 
then placed liberty in the second rank and the Church 
in the first. It was he who had undertaken to oppose 
the proposition. ' It is sufficient for us to live under 
the protection of God, St. Peter, and the bishop. . . 
I oppose the alliance.' De la Mare could not pro- 
ceed, so great was the confnsion that broke out in the 

• Journal de JBalard, p. 51. Savyon, AnmUs, p. 131. 
t 'De politia.'— Eegisters of the Council, feb, 25, 1526. 


assembly ; the indignation was general, yet order and 
quiet were restored at last, and the treaty was read. 
' WiU you ratify this alliance ?' said first syndic G. Ber- 
geron. ' Yes, yes ! ' they shouted on every side. The 
syndic continued : ' Let those who approve of it hold 
up their hands ! ' There was a forest of hands, every 
man holding up both at once. ' We desire it, we ap- 
prove of it,' they shouted again. ' Those of the con- 
trary opinion?' added the syndic. Six hands only 
were raised in opposition. Pierre de la Baume from 
his episcopal throne looked down upon this spectacle 
with anxiety. Even to the last he had reckoned upon 
success. By selecting De la Mare, the old leader of 
the patriots, and placing him at the head of the move- 
ment against the alliance with the Swiss, he fancied 
he had hit upon an admirable combination; but his 
hopes were disappointed. Alarmed and irritated, 
seeing what this vote would lead to, and determined 
to keep his principality at any cost, the bishop-prince 
exclaimed : ' I do not consent to this alliance ; I ap- 
peal to our holy father the pope and to his majesty 
the em^peror.' But to no purpose did the Bishop of 
Geneva, on the eve of losing his states, appeal to powers 
the most dreaded — no one paid any attention to his 
protest. Joy beamed on every face, and the words 
' pope, emperor,' were drowned by enthusiastic shouts 
of ' The Swiss . . . the Swiss and liberty ! ' Besangon 
Hugues, who, although on the side of independence, 
was attached to the bishop, exerted aU his influence 
with him. ' Very well, then,' said the versatile pre- 
late, 'if your franchises permit you to contract an 
alliance without your prince, do so.' — ' I take note of 
this declaration,' said Hugues; and then he added: 


' More than once the citizens have concluded such 
alliances without their prince — with Venice, Cologne, 
and other cities.' The Register mentions that after 
this the prince went away satisfied. We rather doubt 
it ; but however that may be, the bishop by his pre- 
sence had helped to sanction the measure which he 
had so much at heart to prevent.* 

What comforted Pierre de la Baume was the sight 
of Besangon Hugues at the head of the movement. 
That great citizen assured the bishop that the alliance 
with Smtzerland was not opposed to his authority; 
and he did so with perfect honesty.f Hugues was 
simply a conservative. He desired an alliance with 
Switzerland in order to preserve Geneva in her pre- 
sent position. He desired to maintain the prelate not 
only as bishop, but also as prince : all his opposition 
was aimed at the usurpations of Savoy. But there 
were minds in Geneva already wishing for more. 
Certain citizens, in whom the new aspirations of modern 
times were beginning ■ to show themselves, said that 
the municipal liberties of the city were continuaHy 
fettered, and often crushed, by the princely authority 
of the bishop. Had he not been seen to favour the 
cruel murders which the Savoyard power had com- 
mitted in Geneva? ' The liberties of the people and 
the temporal lordship of the bishop cannot exist to- 
gether; one or other of the two powers must succumb,' 
they said. The history of succeeding ages has shown 
but too plainly the reasonableness of these fears. Wher- 
ever the bishop has remained king, he has trampled 

* Council Registers, Peb. 25. SalarcCs Journal, p. 51. Galiffe, 
MaUriaux, ii. p. 362. Savyon, Annales, p. 131. 
t Galiffe, Mat4riaux, ii. p. 364. 


the liberties of the people under foot. There we find 
no representative government, no liberty of the press, 
no religious liberty. In the eyes of the bishop-prince 
these great blessings of modern society are monsters to 
be promptly stifled. Some Genevans comprehended the 
danger that threatened them, and, wishing to preserve 
the hberties they had received from their ancestors, 
saw no other means than by withdrawing from the 
ministers of religion a worldly power which Jesus 
Christ had refused them beforehand. Some — but 
their number was very small then — went farther, 
and began to ask whether the authority of a bishop in 
religious matters was not stiU more contrary to the 
precepts of the Gospel, which acknowledged no other 
authority than that of the word of God ; and whether 
liberty could ever exist in the State so long as there 
was a despot in the Church. Such were the great 
questions beginning to be discussed in Geneva more 
than three hundred years ago : the present time seems 
destined to solve them. 

In spite of the loyal assurances of BesauQon Hugues, 
the bishop was disturbed. Sitting with liberty at his 
side, he felt HI at ease ; and the terror spreading 
through the ranks of the clergy could not fail to reach 
him. If the Bishop of Geneva should be deprived of 
his principality, who can tell if men wiU not one day 
deprive the pope of his kingship ? The alarm of the 
canons, priests, and friends of the papacy continued 
to increase. Did they not know that the Eeformation 
was daily gaining ground in many of the confederated 
states? Friburg, indeed, was still catholic ; but Zurich 
was no longer so, and everything announced that 
Berne would soon secede. The great light was to 


come from another country, from a country that spoke 
the language of Geneva; but Geneva was then receiv- 
ing from Switzerland the first gleams that precede 
the day. Some Genevans were ah'eady beginning to 
profess,- rather undisguisedly, their new religious ten- 
dencies ; Robert Vandel, the bishop's friend, openly de- 
fended the Reformation. ' Sire Robert is not very good 
for Friburg,' said some ; ' but he is good for Berne, very 
good ! ' which meant that he preferred Holy Scripture 
to the pope. The priests said that if Geneva was 
united to Switzerland, there was an end of the privi- 
leges of the clergy ; that simple christians would be- 
gin to occupy themselves with religion ; and that in 
Geneva, as in Basle, Schaffhausen, and Berne, laymen 
would talk about the faith of the Church. Now there 
was nothing of which the clergy were more afraid. 
The ministers of the Romish religion, instead of exa- 
mining the Scriptures, of finding in them doctrines 
capable of satisfying the wants of man, and of propa- 
gating them by mild persuasion, were occupied with 
very different matters, and would not suffer any one 
but themselves to think even of the Bible and its con- 
tents. Never was a calling made a more thorough fic- 
tion. It was said of them : They have taken away the 
key of knowledge ; they enter not in the7nselves, and them 
that were entering in they hindered. 

These ideas became stronger every day, and the 
attachment of the priests to then- old customs was 
more stubborn than ever. It was difficult to avoid 
an outbreak; but it should be observed that it was 
provoked by the canons. These rich and powerful 
clerics, who were determined to oppose the alliance 
with aU their power, and, if necessary, to defend their 


clerical priyileges "with swords and arquebuses, got 
together a quantity of arms in the house of De Lutry, 
the most fanatical of their number, in order to make 
use of them ' against the city.' On the night of the 
26th of February, these reverend seigniors, as "weU 
as the principal mamelukes, crept one after another 
into this house, and held a consultation. A rumour 
spread through the city, and the citizens told one 
another 'that M. de Lutry and ^1. de Yausier had 
brought together a number of people secretly to get 
up a riot.' The patriots, prompt and resolute in 
character, were determined not to give the mamelukes 
the least chance of recovering their power. ' The 
people rose in arms,' the house was surrounded ; it 
would appear that some of the chiefs of the ducal 
party came out, and that swords were crossed. ' A 
few were wounded,' says the chronicler. However, 
' proclamation was made to the sound of the trumpet 
through the city,' and order was restored.* 

The conspiracy of the canons having thus failed, 
the members of the feudal and papal party thought 
everything lost. They fancied they saw an irrevocable 
fatality dragging them violently to their destruction. 
The principal supporters of the old order of things, 
engrossed by the care of their compromised security, 
thought only of escaping, like bii'ds of night, before 
the first beams of day. They disguised themselves 
and slipped out unobserved, some by one gate, some by 
another. It was almost a universal panic. The im- 
petuous Lutry escaped first, with one of his colleagues; 
the bishop-prince's turn came next. Bitterly upbraided 

* Bonivard, Clironiq. ii, p. 444. Jownal de Bcdard, pp. 52, 53. 
VOL. I. E E 


by the Count of Genevois for not having prevented the 
alhance, Pierre de la Baume took alarm both at the 
huguenots and the duke, and escaped to St. Claude. 
The agents of his Highness of Savoy trembled in their 
castles ; the vidame hastened to depart on the one side, 
and the gaoler of the Chateau de I'lle, who was nick- 
named the sultan, did the same on the other. 

The most terrified were the clerics and the mame- 
lukes who had been present at the meeting at Canon 
de Lutry's. They had taken good care not to stop after 
the alarm that had been given them, and when the 
order was made by sound of trumpet for every man to 
retire to his own house, they had hastened to escape 
in disguise, trembling and hopeless. The next morning 
the city watch, foUowed by the sergeants, forcibly 
entered De Lutry's house, and seized the arms, which 
had been carefully hidden ; but they found the nest 
empty, for all the birds had flown. ' If they had not 
escaped,' said Syndic Balard, 'they would have been 
in danger of death.' The canons who had not taken 
flight sent two of their number to the h&tel-de-ville to 
say to the syndics : ' Will you keep us safe and sure 
in the city? if not, wiU you give us a safe-conduct, 
that we may leave it? ' They thought only of follow- 
ing their colleagues. 

The flight of the 26th of February was the counter- 
part of that of the 15th of September. In September 
the new times had disappeared in Geneva for a few 
weeks only; in February the old times were departing 
for ever. The Genevese rejoiced as they saw these 
leeches disappear, who had bled them so long, even to 
the very marrow. ' The priests and the Savoyards,' 
they said, ' ai'e like wolves driven from the woods by 


hunger: there is nothing left for them to take, and 
they are compelled to go elsewhere for their prey.' 
Nothing could be more favourable to the StvIss alliance 
and to liberty than this general flight. The partisans 
of the duke and of the bishop having evacuated the 
city, the senate and the people remained masters. The 
grateful citizens ascribed all the glory to God, and ex- 
claimed : ' The sovereignty is now in the hands of the 
council, without the interference of either magistrates 
or people. Everything was done by the grace of God.^ * 
At the very time when the men of feudalism were 
quitting Geneva, those of liberty were arriving, and the 
great transition was effected. On the 11th of March 
eight Swiss ambassadors entered the city ia the 
midst of a numerous crowd and under a salute of 
artillery : they were the envoys from the cantons who 
had come to receive the oaths of Geneva and give 
theirs in return. The next day these freemen, sons 
of the conquerors of Charles the Bold, all glowing 
with desire to protect Geneva from the attacks of 
Charles the Good, appeared before the general council. 
At their head was Sebastian de Diesbach, an energetic 
man, devout catholic, great captain, and skilful diplo- 
matist. ' Magnificent lords and very dear fellow- 
freemen,' he said, ' Friburg and Berne acquaint you 
that they are willing to live and die with you. . . Will 
you swear to observe the alliance that has been drawn 
up?' — 'Yes,' exclaimed all the Genevans, without 
one dissentient voice. Then the Swiss ambassadors 
stood up and raised their hands towards heaven to 

* Journal de Balard, pp. 52, 53. Galiife, Matdiiaux, ii. p. 368. Boni- 
Tard, Police de Oetiive, pp. 392, 393 ; Chroniq. ii. pp. 440, 444. 

E E 2 


make the oath. Every one looked with emotion on 
those eight Helvetians of lofty stature and martial 
bearing, the representatives of the energetic popula- 
tions whose military glory at this time surpassed 
that of all other nations. The noble Sebastian hav- 
ing pronounced the oath of alliance, his companions 
raised their hands also, and repeated his words 
aloud. The citizens exclaimed with transport : ' We 
desire it, we desire it ! ' Then with deep emotion said 
some : ' Those men were born in a happy hour, who 
have brought about so good a business.' Eight de- 
puties of Geneva, among whom were Francis Favre 
and G. Hugues, brother of Besangon, proceeded to 
Berne and Friburg to make the same oath on the 
part of their fellow-citizens.* 

The men of the old times were not discouraged: 
if they had been beaten at Geneva, might they not 
conquer at Friburg and Berne? Indefatigable in 
their exertions, they resolved to set every engine to 
work in order to succeed. Stephen de la Mare, three 
other deputies of the duke, Michael Nergaz, and 
forty-two mamelukes went into Switzerland to break 
oflF the alliance. But Friburg and Berne replied: 
' For nothing in the world will we depart from what 
we have sworn.' The hand of God was manifest, and 
accordingly when Hugues heard of this answer, he 
exclaimed : ' God himself is conducting our affairs.' 

Then was Geneva intoxicated with joy. On the 
morrow after the taking of the oath in the general 
council, the delight of the people broke out all over 

* Eegisters of March 12, 1626. Balard^s Journal, p. 54. Spon, Sist. 
de Geiikve, ii. p. 392. Gautier MS. GalifFe, MaUriaux, ii. pp. 369-392. 
Savyon, Aimales, p. 132. 


the city. Bonfires were lighted in the public places ; 
there was much dancing, masquerading, and shouting ; 
patriotic and satirical songs reechoed through the 
streets; there was an outburst of happiness and 
liberty. ' When a people have been kept so long in 
the leash,' said Bonivard, ' as soon as they are let 
loose, they are apt to indulge in dangerous gambols.'* 

While the people were rejoicing after their fashion, 
the wise men of the coimcU resolved to show their 
gratitude to God in another manner. The councils 
issued a general pardon. Then an indxilgence and 
concord were proclaimed, and all bound themselves 
to live in harmony. They went further : they de- 
sired to repair the injustice of the old regime. ' Boni- 
vard,' said some, ' has been unjustly deprived of his 
priory of St. Victor because of his patriotism.' — 
' What would you have us do ? ' they answered ; ' the 
pope has given the benefice to another.' — ' I should 
not make it a serious matter of conscience to disobey 
the pope,' said Bonivard shly — ' And as for us,' said 
the syndics, 'we do not care much about him.' In 
later years the magistrates of Geneva gave the most 
palpable proofs of this declaration; for the moment, 
they confined themselves to resettling the ex-prior 
in the house of which the pope had robbed him. 
Another more important reparation had still to be 

In this solemn hour, when the cause of liberty was 
triumphing, amid the joyful shouts of a whole people, 
two names were pronounced with sighs and even with 

* Balarffs Journal, pp. 54, 55. Bonivard, Chrmiq. ii. p. 447. Roset 
MS. Clirmiiq. liv. ii. ch. x. 


tears : ' Berthelier ! Levrier ! ' said the noblest of the 
citizens. ' We have reached the goal, but it was they 
who traced out the road with their blood.' An en- 
jfrauchised people ought not to be ungrateful to their 
liberators. By a singular coincidence the anniversary 
of Berthelier's death revived more keenly the memory 
of that disastrous event. On the 23rd of August a 
hundred citizens appeared before the council : ' Seven 
years ago this very day,' they said, ' Plulibert Ber- 
thelier was beheaded in the cause of the republic ; we 
pray that his memory be honoured, and that, for such 
end, a solemn procession shall march to the ringing of 
bells from the church of St. Pierre to that of Our 
Lady of Grace, where the hero's head was buried.' 
That was not without danger : Our Lady's was on the 
Savoy frontier, and his Highness's soldiers might 
easUy have disturbed the ceremony. The council 
preferred ordering a solemn service in memory of 
Berthelier, Levrier, and others who died for the 
republic. The Genevans, acknowledging the great 
blessings with which the hand of God had enriched 
them, wished to repair all wrongs, honour all self- 
sacrifice, and walk with a firm step in the paths of 
justice and of liberty. It was by such sacrifices that 
they meant to celebrate their deliverance.* 

Geneva did not stand alone in feeling these aspira- 
tions towards modem times. It was doubtless in the 
sixteenth century a great example of liberty ; but the 
movement tending towards new things was felt among 
aU those nations whom the Bible compares to a 
troubled sea : the tide was rising over the whole 

• EegiBtere of the Council, Aug. 23, 1526. Gautier MS. 


surface. During the first half of the sixteenth century 
Europe was awaking; the love of ancient learning 
enlightened the mind, and the brilliant rays of chris- 
tian truth, so long intercepted, were beginning to pierce 
the clouds. A world till then unknown was opening 
before man's astonished eyes, and everything seemed 
to announce a civilisation, independence, and life as 
yet unknown to the human race. The mind of Eu- 
rope awoke, and moving forward took its station 
in the light, insatiable of life, of knowledge, and of 

The great question was to know whether the new 
world, which seemed to be issuing from the abyss, 
would repose on a solid foundation. More than once 
already awakened society had appeared to break its 
bonds, to throw oiF its shroud, and uplift the stone 
from the sepulchre. It had happened thus in the 
ninth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, when the most 
eminent minds began to ask the reason of things ; * 
but each time humanity had wanted the necessary 
strength, the new birth was not completed, the tomb 
closed over it again, and it fell once more into a 
heavy slumber. 

Would it be the same now? Would this awakening 
of the sixteenth century be also like a watch in the 

Certain men, elect of God, were to give this new 
movement the strength it needed. Let us turn 
towards that country whence Geneva would receive 
those heroes baptised with the Holy Spirit and with 

* ' Quserere rationem quoinodo sit.' — Anselm. 


The scene of our history is about to change. ' A 
man of mark' whom we have already quoted, said, 
when speaking of Geneva : ' On this platform appear 
actors who do not speak so loud as great kings and 
emperors on the spacious theatre of their states ; but 
what matters how the speaker is dressed, if he says 
what he ought ? ' * We are leaving for a time this 
modest platform. We shall no longer have to speak 
of a little nation whose greatest heroes are obscure 
citizens. We are entering a mighty empire where we 
shall be in the company of kings and queens, of great 
personages and famous courtiers. Yet the dissimi- 
larity between the two theatres is not so wide as one 
might expect. In that vast country of France, where 
historians usually describe nothing but the great 
stream formed by the numerous combinations of 
policy, a few springs are seen welling forth, at fii'st 
unnoticed, but they swell by degrees, and their waters 
will one day have more influence on the destiny of 
the world than the floods of that mighty river. One 
of these springs appeared at Etaples, close upon the 
shores of the Channel; another at Gap in Dauphiny; 
and others in other places. But the most important, 
that which was to unite them aU and spread a new 
life even to the most distant countries, weUed up at 
Noyon, an ancient and once illustrious town of Pi- 
cardy. It was France who gave Lefevre and Farel — 
France, too, gave Calvin. That French people, who 
(as some say) cared for nothing but war and diplo- 
macy ; that home of a philosophy often sceptical and 
sometimes incredulous and mocking ; that nation 

* ' Lettre d'un personnage de marquo,' Borne MS. Hist. IIcMt. 125. 


which proclaimed and still proclaims itself the eldest 
daughter of Rome, gave to the world the Reformation 
of Calvin and of Geneva — the gi'eat Reformation, 
that "which is the strength of the most influential 
nations, and which reaches even to the ends of the 
world. France has no nobler title of renown : we do 
not forget it. Perhaps she will not always disdain 
it, and after having enriched others she will enrich 
herself. It will be a great epoch for her future 
development, when her dearest children drink at those 
living fountains that burst from her bosom in the 
sixteenth century, or rather at that eternal fountain 
of the "Word of God, whose waters are for the healing 
of nations. 




THE Reformation was concerned both with God 
and man: its aim was to restore the paths by 
which God and man unite, by which the Creator 
enters again into the creature. This path, opened by 
Jesus Christ with power, had been blocked up in 
ages of superstition. The Eefonnation cleared the 
road, and reopened the door. 

We willingly acknowledge that the middle ages 
had not ignored the wonderful work of redemption : 
truth was then covered with a veil rather than de- 
stroyed, and if the noxious weeds be plucked up with 
which the field had gradually been fiRed, the primi- 
tive soil is laid bare. Take away the worship paid to 
the Virgin, the saints, and the host ; take away meri- 
torious, magical, and supererogatory works, and other 
errors besides, and we arrive at simple faith in the 

BOOK 11. 



THE Reformation was concerned both with God 
and man: its aim was to restore the paths by 
which God and man unite, by which the Creator 
enters again into the creature. This path, opened by 
Jesus Christ with power, had been blocked up in 
ages of superstition. The Refonnation cleared the 
road, and reopened the door. 

We willingly acknowledge that the middle ages 
had not ignored the Avonderful work of redemption : 
truth was then covered with a veU rather than de- 
stroyed, and if the noxious weeds be plucked up with 
which the field had gradually been fiRed, the primi- 
tive soil is laid bare. Take away the worship paid to 
the Virgin, the saints, and the host ; take away meri- 
torious, magical, and supererogatory works, and other 
errors besides, and we arrive at simple faith in the 


Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is not the same 
when we come to the manner in which God enters 
again into man. Roman Catholicism had gone astray 
in this respect ; thei-e were a few mystics m her fold 
who pretended to tread this mysterious way ; but their 
heated imaginations misled them, while in the place 
of this inward worship the Roman doctors substituted 
certain ecclesiastical formalities mechanically executed. 
The only means of recovering this royal road was to 
return to the apostolical times and seek for it in the 
Gospel. Three acts are necessary to unite man again 
with God. Religion penetrates into man by the depths 
of his conscience ; thence it rises to the height of his 
knowledge, and finally pervades the activity of his 
whole life. 

The conscience of man had been seared not only 
by the sin which clings to our nature, but also by 
the indulgences and mortifications imposed by the 
Church. It required to be vivified by faith in the 
atoning blood of Christ. 

Tradition, scholasticism, papal infallibility, mingliug 
their confused questions and numerous superstitions 
with the natural darkness of the heart, man's under- 
standing had been completely obscured. It needed to 
be enlightened by the torch of God's word. 

A society of priests, exercising absolute dominion, 
had enslaved Christendom. For this theocratic and 
clerical society it was necessary to substitute a living 
society of the children of God. 

With Luther began the awaliening of the human 
conscience. Terrified at the sin he discovered in him- 
self, he found no other means of peace but faith in 
the grace of Christ Jesus. This starting-point of the 


German reformer was also that of every Eeforma- 

To Zwingle belongs in an especial manner the work 
of the understanding. The first want of the Swiss 
reformer was to know God. He inquired into the 
false and the true, the reason of faith. Formed by the 
study of the Greek classics, he had the gift of under- 
standing and interpreting Scripture, and as soon as 
he reached Zurich he begain his career as a reformer 
by explaining the New Testament. 

Calvin perfected the third work necessary for the 
Reformation. His characteristic is not, as the world 
imagines, the teaching of the doctrines to which he 
has given his name ; his great idea was to unite all 
believers into one body, having the same life, and 
acting under the same Chief. The Eeform was essen- 
tially, in his eyes, the renovation of the individual, of 
the human mind, of Christendom. To the Church 
of Rome, powerful as a government, but otherwise 
enslaved and dead, he wished to oppose a regenerated 
Church whose members had found through faith the 
liberty of the children of God, and which should be 
not only a pillar of truth, but a principle of moral 
purification for all the human race. He conceived 
the bold design of forming for these modern times a 
society in which the individual liberty and equality of 
its members should be combined with adhesion to an 
immutable truth, because it came from God, and to a 
holy and strict, but freely accepted law. An energetic 
efibrt towards moral perfection was one of the devices 
written on his standard. Not only did he conceive 
the grand idea we have pointed out ; he realised it. 
He gave movement and life to that enlightened and 


sanctified society which was the object of his noble 
desires. And now wherever churches are founded 
on the twofold basis of truth and morality — even 
should they be at the antipodes — we may affirm that 
Calvin's sublime idea is extended and carried out. 

It resulted from the very nature of this society that 
the democratic element would be introduced into the 
nations where it was established. By the very act of 
giving truth and morality to the members of this body, 
he gave them liberty. All were called to search for 
light in the Bible ; aU were to be taught immediately 
of God, and not by priests only ; aU were called to give 
to others the truth they had found. ' Each one of you,' 
said Calvin, 'is consecrated to Christ, in order that 
you may be associated with him in his kingdom, and be 
partakers of his priesthood.'* How could the citizens 
of this spiritual republic be thought otherwise than 
worthy to have a share in its government ? The 
fifteenth chapter of the Acts shows us the brethren 
united with the apostles and elders in the proceedings 
of the Church, and such is the order that Calvin de- 
sired to reestablish. We have already pointed out 
some of the reasons by virtue of which constitutional 
liberty was introduced into the bosom of the nations 
who received the Reform of Geneva. To these must 
be added the reason just mentioned. 

Disunited from each other, the three great principles 
of Luther, Zwingle, and Calvin would have been insuffi- 
cient. Faith, if it had not possessed for its foundation 
the knowledge of the Word of God, would have easily 
degenerated into a mystical enthusiasm. The abstract 

* Calvin on St. Peter, ch. ii, v. 9. 


authority of Scripture, separated from a living faith, 
would have ended in a dead orthodoxy ; and the social 
principle, deprived of these two foundations, would 
have succeeded only in raising one of those artificial 
edifices in the air which fall doAvn as soon as built. 

God, by giving in the sixteenth century a man who 
to the lively faith of Luther and the scriptural under- 
standing of Zwingle joined an organising faculty and 
a creative mind, gave the complete reformer. If Luther 
laid the foundations, if Zwingle and others built the 
walls, Calvin completed the temple of God. 

We shall have to see how this doctor arrived at a 
knowledge of the truth ; we shall have to study his 
labours and his struggles until the moment when, 
quitting for ever a country whose soil trembled under 
his feet and threatened to swallow him up, he went to 
plant upon a lowly Alpine hill that standard around 
which he meditated rallying the scattered members 
of Jesus Christ. But we must first see what was the 
state of France at the time when the reformer was 
brought to the Gospel. 

The history of the Reformation in France, prior to 
the establishment of Cahon at Geneva, is divided into 
two parts : the first includes the favourable times, the 
second the unfavourable. We confess that the favour- 
able times were occasionally the reverse, and that the 
unfavourable times were often favourable ; and yet we 
believe that, generally speaking, this distinction maybe 
justified. This subject has been frequently treated of; 
we shall, however, have to describe some phases of the 
French Reformation which have not always been set 
forth by those who have written its history. 

Two persons, a man and a woman, whose social 


position and character present the most striking con- 
trasts, laboured with particular zeal to propagate the 
Gospel in France at the epoch of the Reformation. 

The woman appears first. She is the most beautiful 
and intelligent, the wittiest, most amiable and influen- 
tial, and, with the exception of her daughter, the 
greatest of her age. Sister, mother of kings, herself 
a queen, grandmother of the monarch whom France 
(right or wrong) has extolled the most, namely, 
Henry IV., she lived much in the great world, in 
great ceremonials, with great personages, among the 
magnificence of the Louvre, St. Germain, and Fon- 
tainebleau. This woman is Margaret of Angoul^me, 
Duchess of AIen9on, Queen of Navarre, and sister of 
Francis I. 

The man who appears next (he was younger than 
her by seventeen years) contrasts with all these gran- 
deurs by the lowness of his origin. He is a man of 
the people, a Picardin ; his gi'andfather was a cooper at 
Pont I'Eveque ; his father was secretary to the bishop, 
and, in the day of his greatest influence in the world, he 
apprenticed his own brother Anthony to a bookbinder. 
Simple, frugal, poor, of a disposition ' rather morose 
and bashful'* — such is the humble veil that hides 
the greatness of his genius and the strength of his will. 
This man is Calvin. 

This man and this woman, so opposite as regards 
their condition in the world, resemble each other in 
their principal features. They both possess faith in 
the great truths of the Gospel ; they love Jesus Christ ; 
they have the same zeal for spreading with imwearied 

* Calvin, Preface to the Psalms. 


activity the truths so dear to them; they have the 
same compassion for the miserable, and especially for 
the victims of religious persecution. But while the 
man sometimes presumes upon his manly strength, the 
woman truly belongs to the weaker sex. She possesses 
indeed a moral virtue which resists the seductions of 
the age ; she keeps herself pure in the midst of a de- 
praved court ; but she has also that weakness which 
disposes one to be too indulgent, and permits herself 
to be led away by certain peculiarities of contem- 
porary society. We see her writing tales whose origin 
may be explained and even justified, since their object 
was to unveil the hnmorality of priests and monks, 
but they are nevertheless a lamentable tribute paid to 
the spirit of her age. While Calvin sets up against 
the papacy a forehead harder than adamant^ Margaret, 
even iu the days of her greatest zeal, is careful not to 
break with Rome. At last she yields, outwardly at 
least, to the sovereign commands of her brother, the 
persevering hostility of the court, clergy, and parlia- 
ment, and though cherishing in her heart faith in the 
Saviour who has redeemed -her, conceals that faith 
under the cloak of Romish devotion ; while Calvin 
propagates the Gospel, in opposition to the powers of 
the world, saying : ' Such as the warfare is, such are 
the arms. If our warfare is spuitual, we ought to be 
furnished with spiritual armour.' * Margaret doubt- 
less says the same thing ; but she is the king's sister, 
summoned to his council, accustomed to diplomacy, 
respected by foreign princes ; she hopes that a union 
with the evangelical rulers of Germany may hasten 

* Calvin on 2 Cor. x. 4. 
VOL. I. F F 


on the Reformation of France. Finally, wlule Calvin 
desires truth in the Church above all things, Margaret 
clings to the preservation of its unity ^ and thus becomes 
the noble representative of a system still lauded by 
some protestants — to reform the Church without break- 
ing it up : a specious system, impossible to be realised. 
And yet this illustrious lady, in spite of her errors, 
plays a great part in the history of the Reformation : 
she was respected by the most pious reformers. An 
impartial historian should brave hostile prejudices, and 
assign her the place which is her due. 

Let us enter upon the French Reformation at the 
moment when, after great but isolated preparations, it 
is beginning to occupy a place in the affairs of the 

The defeat at Pavia had plunged France into 
mourning. There was not a house where they did 
not weep for a son, a husband, or a father; and the 
whole kingdom was plunged va. sorrow at seeing its 
king a prisoner. The recoil of this great disaster had 
not long to be waited for. ' The gods chastise us : 
let us fall upon the christians,' said the Romans of 
the first centuries ; the persecuting spirit of Rome 
woke up in France. ' It is our tenderness towards 
the Lutherans that has drawn upon us the vengeance 
of heaven,' said the zealous catholics, who conceived 
the idea of appeasing heaven by hecatombs. 

The great news of Pavia which saddened all France 
was received in Spaia with transports of joy. At the 
time when the battle was fought, the young emperor 

* For an account of preceding times, see tlie Hktoi-y of the Meforma- 
tion of the Sixteenth Ccntunj, vol. iii. bit. xii. 


was in Castile, anxiously expecting news from Italy. 
On the lOth of March, 1525, he was discussing, in one 
of the halls of the palace at Madrid, the advantages of 
Francis I. and the critical situation of the imperial 
army.* ' We shall conquer,' Pescara had written 
to him, 'or else we shall die.' At this moment a 
courier from Lombardy appeared at the gate of the 
palace : he was introduced immediately. ' Sire,' said 
he, bending the knee before the emperor in the midst 
of his court, ' the French army is annihilated, and the 
King of France in your Majesty's hands.' Charles, 
startled by the unexpected news, stood pale and 
motionless; it seemed as if the blood had stag- 
nated in his veins. For some moments he did not 
utter a word, and all around him, affected like 
hunself, looked at him in silence. At last the amlji- 
tious prince said slowly, as if speaking to himself: 
' The king of France is my prisoner ... I have won 
the battle.' Then, without a word to any one, he en- 
tered his bed-room and feU on his knees before an image 
of the Virgin, to whom he gave thanks for the victory. 
He meditated before this unage on the great exploits 
to which he now thought himself called. To become 
the master of Europe, to reestablish everywhere the 
tottering Catholicism, to take Constantinople, and 
even to recover Jerusalem — such was the task which 
Charles prayed the Vii'gin to put him in a condition to 
carry through. If these ambitious projects had been 
realised, the revival of learning would have been com- 
promised, the Reformation ruined, the new ideas rooted 
out, and the whole world would have bowed helplessly 

* Guicciardini, History of the Wars of Italy, ii. bk. xvi. p. 500. 
F F 2 


beneath two swords — that of tlic cinpiTor I'lrst, luul 
then that of the pope. At length Ohai-les rose i'roni his 
knees; he read the humble letters of the K'u\g of 
France, gave orders for proeesisiuns tt) be made, and 
attended mass next day with every niai-k ol' the 
greatest devotion.* 

All Christendom thought as this potentate did: n 
shudder ran through Europe, and e\'i'ry man said to 
himself us he bent his head : ' P>ehold the master whom 
the fates assign us ! ' At Naples a il(>vout voice was 
heard to exclaim : ' Thou hast laid the wi)rld at his 

It has been said that if in our day a king should be 
made prisoner, the heir to the throne or a ri'gciut 
would succeed to all his rights; but in the sixtt'enth 
century, onuiipotence dwelt in the monarcli's [jcrson, 
iUid from the deptlis of his dungeon lie could bind his 
country by the most disastrous treatit'S.'j" (Miarles V. 
determined to profit by this state of things. 1I(^ 
assend)led his council. The cruel Duke of Alva elo- 
quently conjiu'cd him not to release his rival until 
he had de[)rived him oC all power to injure him. ' In 
whom is insolence more natural,' ho said, ' in whom is 
fickleness more instinctive than in the I'^reneli ? What 
can we expect from a king of France? . . . Invincible 
emperor, do not miss the O[)i)ortunity of inei'easing the 
authority of the empire, not ior your own glory, but 
for the service of God.' J Charles V. appeared to 
yield to the duke's advice, but it was advice according 

* Quiociai'diiii, T/'i/rs of Itnh/ (l)(>H|iiilrli dI' Siiiu'iHii, aiubasainlor of 
ManUiii, March if), XU'iU). Saniitd, llaulco, Jlriilin/n' (Ivsrlilvlitc, ii. ji. UI5. 
t M. lioiMWHiuw Sainl-lliliiirn, Hint. iC Jinjuiipii; vi. p, l.'tCi. 
1 uiociardiiii, H'ciia of lUdij, ii. bit. xvi. pp. 510, 511, 


to his own heart; and while repeating that a chris- 
tian prince ought not to triumph in his victory over 
another, he resolved to crush his rival. M. de 
Beaurain, viceroy of Naples, Lannoy, and the Con- 
stable of Bourbon, so detested by Francis I., waited 
all three upon the royal captive. 

Francis had ovei'played the part of a suppliant, a 
character so new for him. ' Instead of a useless 
prisoner,' he had written to Charles, ' set at liberty a 
king who Avill be your slave for ever.' Charles pro- 
posed to him a dismemberment of France on three 
sides. The Constable of Bourbon was to have Pro- 
vence and Dauphiny, and these provinces, united 
with the Bourbonnais which he possessed already, 
were to be raised into an independent kingdom. The 
King of England was to have Normandy and Guienne ; 
and the emperor would be satisfied with French 
Flanders, Picardy, and Burgundy. . . When he heard 
these monsti-ous propositions, Francis uttered a cry 
and caught up his sword, which his attendants took 
from his hands. Turning towards the envoys he 
said : ' I would rather die in prison than consent to 
such demands.' Thinking that he could make better 
terms with the emperor, he soon after embarked at 
Genoa and sailed to Spain. The delighted Charles 
gave up to him the palace of Madrid, and employed 
eveiy means to constrain hhn to accept his disastrous 
conditions.* Who will succeed in bafSing the em- 
peror's pernicious designs? A woman, Margaret of 
Valois, undertook the task.f The statesmen of her 

* Mimoires de Du Bellay, p. 121. Guicciardini, Wars of Italy, ii. bk. 
xvi. pp. 511, 512. 

f See History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vol, iii, bk. 
xii. ch. XV. 


age considered her the best head in Europe; the 
friends of the Reformation respected her as their 
mother. Her dearest wish was to substitute a living 
Christianity for the dead forms of popeiy, and she 
hoped to prevail upon her brother, 'the father of 
letters,' to labour with her in this admirable work. 
It was not in France only that she desii-ed the triumj^h 
of the Gospel, but in Germany, England, Italy, and 
even Spain. As Charles's projects would ruin all that 
she loved — the king, France, and the Gospel — she 
feared not to go and beard the Hon even in his den. 

The duchess as she entered Spain felt her heart 
deeply agitated. The very day she had heard of the 
battle of Pavia, she had courageously taken this heavy 
cross upon her shoulders; but at times she fainted 
under the burden. Impatient to reach her brother, 
burning with desire to save him, fearing lest she 
should find him dying, trembling lest the persecutors 
should take advantage of her absence to crush the 
Gospel and religious hberty in France, she found no 
rest but at the feet of the Saviour. Many evangelical 
men wept and prayed with her ; they sought to raise 
her drooping courage under the great trial which 
threatened to weigh her down, and bore a noble 
testimony to her piety. ' There are various stations 
in the christian life,' said one of these reformers, 
Capito. ' You have now entered upon that coimnonly 
called the Way of the Cross* . . . Despising the theo- 
logy of men, you desire to know only Jesus Christ 
and Him crucified.' f 

* ' In istum pietatis gradum evasisti, qui Tulgo dicitur via crvcis.' — 
Capito, Dedicatory Epistle to tlie Comm. sur Osee. 

t ' Christumque Jesum et tunc crucifixum tibi solum reseryas.' — Ibid. 


Margaret crossing in her litter (September 1525) the 
plains of Catalonia, Arragon, and Castile, exclaimed : 

I cast my eyes aroimd, 

I look and look in vain . . . 
The loved one cometh not ; 

And on my knees again 
I pray unceasing to my God 
To heal the king — to spare the rod. 

The loved one cometh not . . . 

Tears on my eyelids sit : 
Then to this virgin page 

My sorrows I commit : — 
Such is to wretched me 
Each day of misery.* 

She sometimes fancied that she could see in the 
distance a messenger riding hastily from Madrid and 
bringing her news of her brother. , . But alas! her 
imagination had deceived her, no one appeared. She 
then wrote : 

Lord, awake, arise ! 

And let thine eyes in mercy fall 
Upon the king — upon us all. 

Once or twice a day she halted at some inn on the 
road to Madrid, but it was not to eat. ' I have 
supped only once since my departure from Aigues- 
Mortes,' she said.f As soon as she entered the 
wretched chamber, she began to write to her brother 
at the table or on her knees. ' Nothing to do you 
service,' she wrote : ' nothing, even to casting the 
ashes of my bones to the wind, will be strange or 
painful to me; but rather consolation, repose, and 
honour.' J 

* Zes Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses, i. pp. 467, 473. 

+ Ibid. ii. p. 41. 

% Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, sur la rotcte de Madrid, ii, p. 42. 


The defeat of Pavia and the excessive demands of 
Charles V. had given the king such shocks that he had 
fallen seriously Ul ; the emperor had therefore gone to 
Madrid to be near him. On Wednesday, September 19, 
1525, Margaret arrived in that capital. Charles 
received her surrounded by a numerous court, and 
respectfully approaching her, this politic and phlegmatic 
prince kissed her on the forehead and offered her his 
hand. Margaret, followed by the noble dames and 
lords of France who had accompanied her, and wearing 
a plain dress of black velvet without any ornament, 
passed between two lines of admiring courtiers. The 
emperor conducted her as far as the door of her 
brother's apartments, and then withdrew. 

Margaret rushed in ; but alas ! what did she find ? 
a dying man, pale, worn, helpless. Francis was on the 
brink of the grave, and his attendants seemed to be 
waiting for his last breath. The duchess approached 
the bed softly, so as not to be heard by the sick man ; 
unobserved she fixed on him a look of the tenderest 
solicitude, and her soul, strengthened by an un- 
wavering faith, did not hesitate ; she believed in her 
brother's cure, she had prayed so fervently. She 
seemed to hear in the depths of her heart an answer 
from God to her prayers; and while all around the 
prince, who was almost a corpse, bowed their heads in 
dark despair, Margaret raised hers with hope towards 

Prudent, skilful, decided, active, a Martha as well 
as a Mary, she established herself at once in the king's 
chamber, and took the supreme direction. 'If she 
had not come he would have died,' said Brant6me.* 

* Brant6me, Mdmoires des Dames ittnstres, p. 113. 


'I know my brother's temperament,' she said, ' better 
than the doctors.' In spite of their resistance, she 
had the treatment changed ; then she sat down at the 
patient's bedside, and left him no more. While the 
kkig slept, she prayed; when he awoke, she spoke to 
him in encouraging language. The faith of the sis- 
ter gradually dispelled the brother's dejection. She 
spoke to him of the love of Christ ; she proposed to 
him to commemorate his atoniug death by celebrat- 
ing the holy eucharist. Francis consented. He had 
hardly communicated when he appeared to wake up 
as if from a deep sleep ; he sat up in his bed, fixed his • 
eyes on his sister, and said : ' God will heal me body 
and soul.' Margaret in great emotion answered : 
' Yes, God will raise you up again and make you 
free.' From that hour the kiag gradually recovered 
his strength, and he would often say : ' But for her, I 
was a dead man.' * 

Margaret, seeing her brother restored to life, thought 
only of restoring him to liberty. She departed for 
Toledo, where Charles Y. was staying ; the seneschal 
and seneschaless of Poitou, the Bishop of Senlis, the 
Archbishop of Embrun, the president De Selves, and 
several other nobles, accompanied her. What a jour- 
ney! Will she succeed in touching her brother's 
gaoler, or will she fail ? This question was continually 
before her mind. Hope, fear, indignation moved her 
by turns ; at every step her agitation increased. The 
emperor went out courteously to meet her ; he helped 
her to descend from her litter, and had his first con- 
versation with her in the Alcazar, that old and maeni- 
ficent palace of the Moorish kings. Charles Y. was 

* Brantome, Dames illmtres. 


determined to take advantage of Ms victoiy. Notwith- 
standing tlie outward marks of politeness, exacted 
by the etiquette of courts, he wrapped himself up in 
imperturbable dignity, and was cold, nay, almost 
harsh. Margaret, seeing that her brother's conqueror 
kept the foot upon his neck, and was determined not 
to remove it, could no longer contain herself. ' She 
broke out into great anger : ' * like a lioness robbed of 
her cubs, full of majesty and fury, she startled the 
cold and formal Charles, says Brant6me. Yet he 
restrained himself, preserved his icy mien, made no 
answer to the duchess, and busying himself with 
showing her the honours due to her rank, he con- 
ducted her, accompanied by the Archbishop of Toledo 
and several Spanish noblemen, to the palace of Don 
Diego de Mendoza, which had been prepared for her. 
Alone in her chamber the princess gave free vent 
to her tears ; she wrote to Francis : ' I found him very 
cold.'f She reminded him that the King of heaven 
' has placed on his throne an ensign of grace ; that we 
have no reason to fear the majesty of heaven will reject 
us; and that he stretches out his hand to us, even 
before we seek for it.' And being thus strengthened, 
she prepared for the solemn sitting at which she was 
to plead her brother's cause. She quitted the palace 
with emotion to appear before the council extraordi- 
nary, at which the emperor and his ministers sat with 
all the grandeur and pride of Castile. Margaret was 
not intimidated, and though she could not perceive 
the least mark of interest on the severe and motion- 
less faces of her judges, ' she was triumphant in 

* Brant6ine, 3I6m. des Dames illustres, p. 113. 
t Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 188. 


speaking and pleading.' But she returned bowed 
down with sorrow : the immovable severity of the 
emperor and of his councillors dismayed her. ' The 
thing is worsened,' she said, ' far more than I had 
imagined.' * 

The Duchess of Alengon, firmer than her brother, 
would not agree to the cession of Burgundy. The 
emperor replied with irritation : ' It is my patrimonial 
estate — I still bear the name and the arms.' The 
duchess, confounded by Charles's harshness, threw 
herself into the arms of God. ' When men fail, God 
does not forget,' she said. She clung to the rock; 
' she leant,' says Erasmus, ' upon the unchangeable 
rock which is called Christ.' f 

She soon regained her courage, asked for another 
audience, returned to the attack, and her agitated 
soul spoke with new eloquence to the emperor and 
his ministers. Never had the Escurial or the Alcazar 
seen a petitioner so ardent and so persevering. She 
returned to her ajjartments in alternations of sorrow 
and joy. ' Sometimes I get a kind word,' she wrote, 
' and then suddenly all is changed. I have to deal 
with the greatest of dissemblers.' J This beautiful 
and eloquent ambassadress filled the Spaniards with 
admiration. They talked at court of nothing but the 
sister of Francis I. Letters received in France and 
Germany from Madrid and Toledo extolled her sweet- 
ness, energy, and virtues. The scholars of Europe 
felt their love and respect for her increase, and were 

* Lettres de la Seine, i. p. 192. 

t 'Vere innitentem saxo illi immotili, quod est Ohristus Jesus.' — 
Erasmi Epp. p. 970. 

J Lettres de la JReine, i. pp. 1 — 207. 


proud of a princess whom they looked upon as their 
Maecenas. What charmed them was something more 
than that inquiring spirit which had led Margaret in 
her earliest years towards literature and divinity, and 
had made her learn Latin and Hebrew ; * Erasmus en- 
thusiastically exclaimed when he heard of the wonders 
she was doing in Spain : ' How can we help loving, 
in God, such a heroine, such an amazon ? ' | The 
courage with which the Duchess of Alengon had gone 
to Spain to save her brother led some christians to 
imagiQe that she would display the same heroism in 
delivering the Chxu'ch from her long captivity. 

* La Femere-Percy, Marguerite dC AngouUme, p. 18. 

t ' Talem heroinam, talem viraginem, non possum non amare in Deo.' — 
Ibid. One writer lias mrginem, but tMs is wrong, for Marg.aret was at 
this time a widow. 




THE captive Francis was not Margaret's only 
sorrow. If her brother was a prisoner to the 
emperor, her brethren in the faith were prisoners to 
her mother. The parliament of Paris having issued 
a decree against the Lutherans, and the pope having 
on the 17th of March invested with apostolical au- 
thority the councillors authorised to proceed against 
them,* the persecutors set vigorously to work. The 
regent Louisa of Savoy, mother of Francis I. and of 
Margaret, inquired of the Sorbonne : ' By what means 
the damnable doctrine of Luther could be extir- 
pated ? ' The fanatic Beda, syndic of that corporation, 
enchanted with such a demand, replied vdthout hesi- 
tation on the part of the Faculties : ' It must be 
punished with the utmost severity.' Accordingly 
Louisa published letters - patent, ' to extinguish the 
damnable heresy of Luther.''^ 

France began to seek in persecution an atonement 
for the faults which had led to the defeat of Pavia. 

* ' Auctoritate apostolica.' — Bull of May 17, 1525. Drion, Hist. Chron. 
p. 14. 

t Letters-patent of June 10, 1525, for the execution of the bull of 
May 17. Ibid. 


Many evangelical christians were either seized or 
banished. Marot, valet-de-chambre to the Duchess 
of Alengon, the best poet of his age, who never 
spared the priests, and translated the Psalms of David 
into verse, was arrested; Lefevre, Roussel, and others 
had to flee; Caroli and Mazurier recanted the faith 
they had professed.* ' Alas ! ' said Roussel, ' no one 
can confess Jesus any longer except at the risk of his 
life.'f — 'It is the hour of triumph,' ;}■ proudly said 
Beda and the men of the Roman party. A blow more 
grievous still was about to reach Margaret. 

A gentleman, a friend of Erasmus, of letters, and 
especially of Scripture, who had free access to the 
court of the duchess, and with whom that princess 
loved to converse about the Gospel and the new times 
— Berquin had been arrested on a charge of heresy; 
then set at liberty in 1523 by the intercession of 
Margaret and the king's orders. Leaving Paris, he 
had gone to his native province of Artois. A man of 
upright heart, generous soul, and intrepid zeal, 'in 
whom you could see depicted the marks of a great 
mind,' says the chronicler, he worthily represented 
by his character that nobility of France, and especially 
of Artois, so distinguished at all times by its deA^oted- 
ness and valour. Happy in the liberty which God 
had given him, Berquin had sworn to consecrate it to 
him, and was zealously propagating in the cottages 
on his estate the doctrine of salvation by Christ alone. ^ 

* ' Ad canendam palinodiam adactis.' — Schmidt, Eoiissel to Farel. 
t ' Vix citra vitae pericidiun audet quis CkriBtum pure conflteri.'— Ibid. 
X ' Ut jam sibi persuadeant triixmplium.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Lutheranae impietatis acerrimus propugnator.' — Chevillier, Impri- 
merie de Paris, p. 130. 


The ancient country of the Atrebates, wonderfully 
fertile as regards the fruits of the earth, was equally 
fertile as regards the seed from heaven. Berquin 
attacked the priesthood such as Eome had made it. 
He said : ' You will often meet with these words in 
Holy Scripture: honourable marriage, undefiled bed, 
but of celibacy you will not find a syllable.' Another 
time he said : ' I have not yet known a monastery 
which was not iafected with hatred and' dissension.' 
Such language, repeated in the refectories and long 
galleries of the convents, filled the monks with anger 
against this noble friend of learning. But he did not 
stop there : 'We must teach the Lord's flock,' he said, 
'to pray with understanding, that they may no longer 
be content to gabble with their lips lilce ducks with 
their bills, without comprehending what they say.' — 
' He is attacking us,' said the chaplains. Berquin did 
not, however, always indulge in this caustic humour ; 
he was a pious christian, and desired to see a holy 
and living unity succeed the parties that divided the 
Eoman Church. He said: 'We ought not to hear 
these words among christians; I am of the Sorbonne, 
I am of Luther; or, I am a Grey-friar, or Dominican, 
or Bernardite. . . Would it be too much then to say : 
/ am a christian ? . . . Jesus who came for us all ought 
not to be divided by us.'* 

But this language aroused stOl greater hatred. The 
priests and nobles, who were firmly attached to ancient 
usages, rose up against him; they attacked him in 
the parishes and chateaux, and even went to him 
and strove to detach him from the new ideas which 


Encomium matrimonii — QtuBrimonia pacts — Achnonitio de moclo 
\di ; ■writings of Erasmus, translated by Berquin. 


alarmed them. ' Stop ! ' they said with a sincerity 
which we cannot doubt, ' stop, or it is all over with 
the Roman hierarchy.' Berquin smiled, but mode- 
rated his language ; he sought to make men understand 
that God loves those whom he calls to believe in 
Jesus Christ, and applied himself ' to scattering the 
divine seed ' with unwearied courage. With the 
Testament in his hand, he perambulated the neigh- 
bourhood of Abbeville, the banks of the Somme, the 
towns, manors, and fields of Artois and Picardy, 
filling them with the Word of God. 

These districts were in the see of Amiens, and every 
day some noble, priest, or peasant went to the palace 
and reported some evangelical speech or act of this 
christian gentleman. The bishop, his vicars and canons 
met and consulted together. On a sudden the bishop 
started for Paris, eager to get rid of the evangelist who 
was creating a disturbance throughout the north of 
Prance. He waited upon the archbishop and the 
doctors of the Sorbonne ; he described to them the 
heretical exertions of the gentleman, the irritation of 
the priests, and the scandal of the faithful. The Sor- 
bonne assembled and went to work : unable to seize 
Berquin, they seized his books, examined them, and 
' after the manner of spiders sucked from them certain 
articles,' says Crespin, 'to make poison and bring 
about the death of a person who, with integrity and 
simplicity of mind, was endeavouring to advance 
the doctrine of God.'* Beda especially took a 
violent part against the evangelist. This suspicious 
and arbitrary doctor, a thorough inquisitor, who pos- 
sessed a remarkable talent for discovering in a book 

* Orespin, Martyrohgue, fol. pp. 102, 103. 


everything that could ruin a man by the help of 
forced interpretations, was seen poring night and day 
over Berquin's volumes. He read in them : ' The 
Virgin Maiy is improperly invoked iastead of the 
Holy Ghost.' — 'Point agaiast the accused,' said 
Beda. — He continued: 'There are no grounds for 
calling her a treasury of grace, our hope, our life : qua- 
lities which belong essentially to our Saviour alone.' 
— Confirmation! — 'Faith alone justifies.' — Deadly 
heresy! — ' Neither the gates of hell, nor Satan, nor 
sin can do anythmg against him who has faith in 
God.' — What insolence ! * Beda made his report : ' Of 
a truth,' said his colleagues, ' that is enough to biding 
any man to the stake.' 

Berquin's death being decided upon, the Sorbonne 
applied to the parliament, who raised no objections in. 
the matter. A man was put to death in those times for 
an off'ensive passage in his writings ; it was the censor- 
ship of a period just emerging fi-om the barbarism of the 
middle ages. Demailly, an ofiicer of the court, started 
for Abbeville, proceeded to the gentleman's estate, and 
arrested him m the name of the law. His vassals, who 
were devoted to him, munnured and would have risen 
to defend him ; but Berquin thought himself strong in 
his right; he remembered besides these words of the 
Son of God: ' Whosoever shall compel thee to go a 
mile, go with him twain ; ' he entreated his friends to 
let him depart, and was taken to the prison of the 
Conciergerie, which he entered with a firm counte- 
nance and unbending head.f 

* Crespin, Martyrologue, fol. 102, 103. 

f Journal cTvn Bourgeois de Paris sous Francois I. (printed from a MS. 
by the SociiStg de rilistoire de Prance), pp. -377, 378. 

VOL. I. G G 


This sad news which reached the Duchess of Alen9on 
in Spain moved her deeply, and while she was hurry- 
ing from Madrid to Toledo, Alcala, and Guadalaxara, 
soliciting everybody, ' plotting ' her brother's mar- 
riage with the sister of Charles V., and thus paving the 
way to the reconciliation of the two potentates, she 
resolved to save her brethren exiled or imprisoned for 
the Gospel. She applied to the king, attacking him 
on his better side. Francis I., Brant6me tells us, was 
called the father of letters. He had sought for learned 
men all over Europe and collected a fine library at 
Fontainebleau.* ' What ! ' said his sister to him, ' you 
are founding a college at Paris intended to receive the 
enlightened men of foreign countries ; and at this very 
time illustrious French scholars, Lefevi'e of Etaples 
and others, are compelled to seek an asylum out of 
the kingdom. . . You wish to be a propagator of 
learning, while musty hypocrites, black, white, and 
grey, are endeavouring to stifle it at home.'f Mar- 
garet was not content to love with word and tongue ; 
she showed her love by her works. The thought of 
the poor starving exiles, who knew not where to lay 
their heads, haunted her in the magnificent palaces 
of Spain; she distributed four thousand gold pieces 
among them, says one of the enemies of the Re- 
formation. J 

She did more: she undertook to win over her 
brother to the Gospel, and endeavoured, she tells us, 
to rekindle the true fire in his heart; but alas! that 

* Mimoires de Brantome, i. p. 241. 

t Collection de Mimoires pour I'Sistaire de France, p. 23. 
X ' Quatuor aureorum niillia inter doctos distribuenda,' — Hor. RSmond, 
Hist, de VIIeHsie, ii, p. 223. 


fire had never burnt there. Touched, however, by 
an affection so lively and so pure, by a devotedness so 
complete, which would have gone, if necessary, even 
to the sacrifice of her life, Francis, desirous of giving 
Margaret a token of his gratitude, commanded the 
parliament to adjourn until his return all proceed- 
ings against the evangelicals. 'I intend,' he added, 
' to give the men of letters special marks of my 
favour.' These words greatly astonished the Sor- 
bonne and the parhament, the city and the court. 
They looked at each other with an uneasy air ; grief, 
they said, had affected the king's judgment. ' Accord- 
ingly they paid no great attention to his letter, and 
on the 24th of November, 1525, twelve days after its 
receipt, orders were given to the bishop to supply the 
money necessary for the prosecution of the heretics.'* 
Margaret had no time to sympathise any longer 
with the fate of her friends. Charles V., who spoke 
with admiration of this princess, thought, not without 
reason, that she encouraged the king to resist him; 
he proposed, therefore, to make her a prisoner, as 
soon as her safe-conduct had expired. It appears 
that it was Montmorencj'' who, being warned of the 
emperor's intention by the secret agents of the regent, 
gave information to the duchess. Her task in Spain 
seemed finished; it was from France now that the 
emperor must be worked upon. Indeed, Francis, 
disgusted with the claims of that prince, had signed 
his abdication and given it to his sister. The French 
government with this document in their hands might 
give a new force to their demands. Margaret quitted 

* Preuves des Lihertes de TEglise GalUcane, by Pierre Pithou, ii. p. 
1092. Bulletin de la SocUU <k VHistoire du Protestantisme Francois, p. 210. 



Madrid, and on the 19th of November she was at 
Alcala.* But as she fled, she looked behind and 
asked herself continually how she could save Francis 
from the ' purgatory of Spain.' Yet the safe-conduct 
was about to expii'e, the fatal moment had arrived; 
the alguazils of Charles were close at hand. Getting 
on horseback at six in the morning, the duchess made 
a four days' journey in one, and reentered France just 
one hour before the termination of the truce. 

Everything changed at Madrid. Charles, alarmed 
at the abdication of Francis, softened by the ap- 
proaching marriage of this monarch with his sister, 
obtaining in fine the main part of his demands, con- 
sented to restore the King of France to liberty. It 
was Burgundy that had delayed the arrangement. 
The king was not more inclined than the duchess to 
detach this important province from France ; the only 
difference between the brother and the sister was, that 
the religion of the one looked upon oaths as sacred, 
while the religion of the other made no account of 
breaking them; and this Francis soon showed. On 
the 14th of January, 1526, some of his courtiers, offi- 
cers, and domestics gathered round their master for an 
act which in their simplicity they called sacred. The 
king swore in their presence that he would not keep 
one of the articles which Charles wished to force upon 
him. When that was done Francis bound himself an 
hour after by an oath, with his hand upon the Scrip- 
tures, to do what Charles demanded. According to the 
tenor of the treaty, he renounced all claim to Italy; 
surrendered Burgundy to the emperor, to whom it 

* Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, ii. p. 47. See also the first volume of 
these letters, p. 207, seqq. 


was stated to belong ; restored Provence, which Charles 
ceded to the Constable of Bourbon; and thus France 
was laid prostrate.* The treaty was communicated 
to the pope: ' Excellent,' he said, after reading it; 
' provided the king does not observe it.' That was a 
point on which Clement and Francis were in perfect 
accord, f 

Margaret had had no hand in this disgraceful trick ; 
her only thought had been to save the king and the 

* Buchon, ii. p. 280. 

t Baumer, Oesch. Europeas, i. p. 313. 




MARGARET, who returned from Spain full of 
hope in. her brother's deliverance, was determined 
to do all in her power for the triumph of the Gospel. 
While the men of the ultramontane party, calling 
to mind the defeat of Pavia, demanded that heaven 
should be appeased by persecutions, Margaret thought, 
on the contrary, that humiliated France ought to turn 
towards Jesus Christ, in order to obtain fi'om him a 
glorious deliverance. 

But would Francis t-read in his sister's steps? 
History presents few characters more inconsistent 
than the character of this prince. He yielded at one 
time to Margaret, at another to the Sorbonne. He 
imprisoned and set free, he riveted the chains and 
broke them. All his actions were contradictory; all 
his projects seemed to exclude each other: on his 
bright side, he was the father of letters ; on his dark 
side, the enemy of all liberty, especially of that which 
the Gospel gives ; and he passed with ease from one 
of these characters to the other. Yet the influence 
which Margaret exercised over him in favour of the 
reformed seemed strongest during the eight or nine 
years that followed his captivity ; Francis showed 


himself not iinfavourable to the evangelicals dui'ing 
this period, except at times when irritated by certain 
excesses. Like a capricious and fiery steed, he some- 
times felt a fly stinging him, when he would rear 
and throw his rider; but he soon grew calm and 
resumed his quiet pace. Accordingly many persons 
thought dui-ing the years 1525-1534 that the country 
of St. Bernard and Waldo would not remain behind 
Germany, Switzerland, and England. If the Reform 
had been completed, France would have been saved 
from the abominations of the Valois, the despotism of 
the Bourbons, and the enslaving superstitions of the 

Nine years before, the Reformation had begun in 
Germany : would it not cross the Rhine ? . . . Strasburg 
is the main bridge by which German ideas enter France, 
and French ideas make their way into Germany. 
Many have already passed, both good and bad, from 
the right bank to the left, and from the left to the 
right ; and wiU still pass as long as the Rhine con- 
tinues to flow. In 1521 the movement had been 
very active. There had been an invasion at Strasburg 
of the doctrines and writings of Luther: his name 
was in every mouth. His noble conduct at the 
diet of Worms had enraptured Germany, and the 
news spread in every direction. Men repeated his 
words, they devoured his writings. ZeU, priest of 
St. Lawrence and episcopal penitentiary, was one of 
the first awakened. He began to seek truth in the 
Scriptures, to preach that man is saved by grace ; and 
his sermons made an immense impression. 

A nobleman of this city, Count Sigismond of 
Haute-Flamme (in German Hohenlohe), a friend and 


ally of the duchess, who called him her good cousin, 
was touched with Luther's heroisra and the preaching 
of Zell. His conscience was aroused ; he endeavoured 
to live according to the will of God; and feeling 
Avithiu him the sin that prevented it, he experienced 
the need of a Saviour, and found one in Jesus Christ. 
Sigismond was not one of those nobles, rather 
numerous then, who spoke in secret of the Saviour, 
but, before the world, seemed not to know him; 
Lambert of Avignon * admired his frankness and his 
courage.f Although a dignitary of the Church and 
dean of the great chapter, the count laboured to 
sjjread evangelical truth around him, and conceived at 
the same time a great idea. Finding hnnself placed be- 
tween the two countries and speaking both languages, 
he resolved to set himself the task of bringing into 
France the great principles of the Reformation. As 
soon as he received any new work of Luther's, he had 
it translated into French and printed, and forwarded it 
to the king's sister. J He did more than that; he wrote 
to Luther, begging him to send a letter to the duchess, 
or even compose some work calculated to encourage 
her in her holy undertakuigs.§ The count, who knew 
Margaret's spirit and piety, and her influence over 
the king, doubted not that she was the door by which 

* For Lambert of Avignon, see the History of the Reformation of tlie 
Sixteenth Centtiry, vol. iv. bk. xiii. ch. iii. 

t 'Videmus quosdam. tui ordinis, qui abscondite Christo adserunt, 
publico autem negant.' — Lambert to Holienlohe. 

I 'Neque cessat libeUos tuos in gallicam linguam versos mittere 
Gallomm regis sorori.'— Epist. Gerbilii ad Lutberum. Eojbrich, Heform 
in Elsass, p. 457. 

§ ' Libello aliquo per te in tarn sancto instituto ut perseveraret adlior- 
tari.' — Ibid. 


the new ideas which were to i-enovate the world, 
would penetrate into France. He composed and 
published himself a work entitled the Book of the 
Cross, in which he set forth the death of Chiist as 
the essence of the Gospel. 

Sigismond's labours with the priests and nobles 
around him were not crowned with success. The 
monks especially looked at him with astonishment, 
and replied that they would take good care not to 
change the easy life they were leading. Lambert, 
who had a keen eye, perceived this, and said to the 
count with a smile : ' You will not succeed ; these 
folks are afraid of damaging their wallets, their kitchens, 
their stables, and theii' bellies.' * 

But he succeeded better with Margaret. He had 
no sooner heard of the defeat at Pavia than he wi'ote 
her a letter full of sympathy. ' May God reward 
you,' she answered, ' for the kindness you have done 
us in visiting with such tender love the mother and 
the daughter, both poor afflicted widows ! You show 
that you are not only a cousin according to flesh and 
blood, but also according to the spirit. We have re- 
solved to follow your advice, so far as the Father of 
all men is propitious to us.' f Sigismond wrote 
again to the duchess while she was in Spain; and 
when he heard of her return to France, manifested 
a desire to go to Paris to advance the work of the 
Reformation. He was at the same time fall of con- 
fidence in Margaret's zeal. ' You think me more 
advanced than I am,' she replied; 'but I hope that 

* ' Timent miseri et casci suis peris, culinis, stabulis, et ventribus.' — 
Lambei't in Joel. 

■j- Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 180, 


He who, in despite of my unworthiness, inspires you 
with this opinion of me, mil deign also to perfect his 
work in me.' * 

The Duchess of Alengon did not however desire, as 
we have said, a reformation like that of Luther or 
Calvin. She wished to see in the Church a sincere 
and living piety, preserving at the same time the 
bishops and the hierarchy. To change the inside, but 
to leave the outside standing — such was her system. 
If they left the Church, two evUs would in her opinion 
result which she wished to avoid : first, it would ex- 
cite an insurmountable opposition; and second, it 
would create divisions and lead to the rupture of 
unity. She hoped to attain her ends by a union be- 
tween France and Germany. If Germany excited 
France, if France moderated Germany, would they 
not attain to a universal Reformation of the Church ? 
She had not drawn up her plan beforehand, but cir- 
cumstances gradually led her to this idea, which Avas 
not her own only, but that of her brother's most in- 
fluential advisers, and which was sometimes that of 
her brother himself. Would she succeed ? . . . Truth 
is proud and will not walk in concert with error. 
Besides, Rome is proud also, and, if this system had 
prevailed, she would no doubt have profited by the 
moderation of the reformers to maintain all her abuses. 

The great event which Margaret was waiting for 
magnified her hopes. Whenever Francis I. passed the 
Pyrenees, it would be in her eyes like the sun rising 
in the gates of the east to inundate our hemisphere 
with its hght. Margaret doubted not that her bro- 

* Lettres de la Heine dii Kai-nrn; i. p. 211. 


ther would immediately gather round him all the 
friends of the Gospel, Uke planets round the orb of 
day. ' Come in the middle of April,' she wrote to 
Hohenlohe, who was in her eyes a star of the first 
magnitude; 'you wiU find all your friends assembled. 
. . . The spirit, which by a living faith unites you 
to your only Chief (Jesus Christ), wiU make you 
diligently communicate your assistance to all who 
need it, especially to those who are united to you in 
spirit and in faith. As soon as the king returns to 
France, he will send to them and seek them in his 
turn.' Margaret imagined herself already at the 
court of France, with the count at her side, and 
around her the exiles, the prisoners, the doctors. . . 
What an effect this mass of light would have upon 
the French! All the ice of scholastic Catholicism 
would melt before the rays of the sun. ' There will 
indeed be some trouble at first,' she said; 'but the 
Word of truth will be heard. . . God is God. He is 
what he is, not less invisible than incomprehensible. 
His glory and his victory are spiritual. He is con- 
queror when the world thinks him conquered.' * 

The king was still a prisoner ; the regent and Du- 
prat, who were opposed to the Reformation, wielded 
supreme power ; the priests, seeing the importance of 
the moment, united all their efforts to combat the 
evangelical influences, and obtained a brilliant triumph. 
On Monday, the 5th of February, 1526, a month be- 
fore the return of Francis I., the sound of the trumpet 
was heard in all the public places of Paris, and a little 
later in those of Sens, Orleans, Auxerre, Meaux, Tours, 

* Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 212. M. Genin has translated 
this letter hack from the German : these retranslations need correction. 


Bourges, Angers, Poitiers, Troyes, Lyons, and Macon, 
and ' in all the bailiwicks, seneschallies, provostries, 
viscounties, and estates of the realm. ' When the trmn • 
pet ceased, the herald cried by order of paiiiament : — 
' All persons are forbidden to jout up to sale or trans- 
late from Latin into French the epistles of St. Paul, 
the Apocalypse, and other books. Henceforward no 
printer shall print any of the books of Luther. No 
one shall speak of the ordinances of the Church or of 
images, otherwise than Holy Church ordains. All 
books of the Holy Bible, translated into French, 
shall be given up by those who possess them, and 
carried within a week to the clerks of the court. All 
prelates, priests, and their curates shall forbid their 
parishioners to have the least doubt of the catholic 
faith.' * Translations, books, explanations, and even 
doubts were prohibited. 

This proclamation afflicted Margaret veiy seriously. 
Will her brother ratify these fierce monastic prohi- 
bitions, or will he cooperate in the victory of truth? 
Will he permit the Reformation to pass from Ger- 
many into France? One circumstance filled the 
Duchess of Alengon with hope : the king declared in 
favour of Berquin. It will be recollected that this 
gentleman had been imprisoned in the Conciergerie. 
Three monks, his judges, entered his prison, and re- 
proached him with having said that ' the gates of hell 
can do nothing against him who has faith.' This no- 
tion of a salvation entirely independent of priests 
exasperated the clergy. — ' Yes,' answered Berquin, 
' when the eternal Son of God receives the siimer who 

* Journal d'lm Soiirr/eois de Paris sous Frangois I. p. 276. 


believes in his death and makes him a child of God, 
this divine adoption cannot be forfeited.' The monks, 
however, could see nothing but a culpable enthusiasm 
in this joyful confidence. Berquin sent Erasmus 
the propositions censured by his judges. ' I find 
nothing impious in them,' replied the prince of the 

The Sorbonne did not think the same. The prior 
of the Carthusians, the prior of the Celestines, monks 
of all colours, ' imps of antichrist,' says the chronicler, 
' gave help to the band of the Sorbonne in order to 
destroy by numbers the firmness of Berquin.' — ' Your 
books will be burnt,' said the pope's delegates to the 
accused, 'you will make an apology, and then only 
will you escape. But if you refuse what is demanded 
of you, you will be led to the stake.' — ' I will not 
yield a single point,' he answered. Whereupon the 
Sorbonnists, the Carthusians, and the Celestines ex- 
claimed : ' Then it is all over with you ! ' Berqum 
waited calmly for the falfilment of these threats. 

When the Duchess of Alen9on heard of all this, 
she immediately wi'ote to her brother, and fell at her 
mother's knees. Louisa of Savoy was not inaccessible 
to compassion, in the solemn hour that was to decide 
her son's liberty. That princess was one of those pro- 
fane characters who think little of God in ordinary 
times, but cry to him when the sea in its rage is about 
to swaUow them up. Shut in her closet with Marga- 
ret, she prayed with her that God would restore the 
king to France. The duchess, full of charity and a 
woman of great tact, took advantage of one of these 
moments to attempt to soften her mother in favour of 
Berquin. She succeeded : the regent was seized with 


a sudden zeal, and ordered the pope's delegates to 
suspend matters until after the king's return.* 

The delegates, in great surprise, read the letter over 
and over again : it seemed very strange to them. They 
deliberated upon it, and, thinking themselves of more 
consequence than this woman, quietly pursued their 
work. The haughty and resolute Louisa of Savoy, hav- 
ing heard of their insolence, was exasperated beyond 
measure, and ordered a second letter to be written to 
the pontiff's agents,f who contented themselves with 
saying ' Non possumus,^ and made the more haste, for 
fear their victim should escape them. The king's 
mother, still more irritated, applied to the parliament, 
who held Berquin in respect, and who said boldly that 
the whole thing was nothing but a monkish conspiracy. 
At this the members of the Roman party made a still 
greater disturbance. Many of them (we must ac- 
knowledge) thought they were doing the public a 
service. ' Erasmus is an apostate,' they said, ' and 
Berquin is his follower. J . . . Their opinions are here- 
tical, schismatic, scandalous. . . We must bum Eras- 
mus's books . . . and Berquin with them.'§ 

But Margaret did not lose courage. She recollected 
that the widow in the Gospel had obtained her request 
by her importunity. She entreated her mother, she 
wrote to her brother : ' If you do not interfere, Ber- 

* ' Jussi fuerunt supersedere ad regium usque adventum.' — Berquinus 
Erasmo, April 17, 1526. 

t 'Binis litteris revise matris.' — Ibid. 

X ' Erasmum hfereticum et apostatum subinde clamanteS; et Berquinum 
iUius fautorem.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Ut libri Erasmi velut hasretici cremerentur ot una cum lis Berauinus. ' 
— Ibid. ^ 


quill is a dead man.' * Francis I. yielded to her prayer, 
and wrote to the first president that he, the king, would 
make him answerable for Berquin's life if he dared to 
condemn him. The president stopped all proceedings ; 
the monks hung their heads, and Beda and his friends, 
says the chronicler, ' were nigh bursting with vexa- 
tion.' f 

Yet Margaret did not hide from herself that she 
had still a hard struggle before her, Avhich would re- 
quire strength and perseverance. She felt the need 
of support to bring to a successful end in France 
a transformation similar to that which was then renew- 
ing Germany. The Count of Hohenlohe, at Stras- 
burg, was not enough : she wanted at her side a staff 
that would enable her to bear with her brother's 
rebukes. God appeared willing to give her what she 

There was at court a prince, young, lively, witty, 
handsome, brave and gay, though somewhat harsh at 
times : he had already gone through surprising ad- 
ventures, and, what was no small recommendation in 
Margaret's eyes, had been the companion of Francis in 
the field and in prison. He was Hemy d' Albret, King 
of Navarre — king by right, if not in fact — and at that 
time twenty-four years old. Community of misfortune 
had united Francis and Henry in close friendship, and 
young d' Albret soon conceived a deep afi"ection for his 
friend's sister. Henry loved learning, possessed great 
vivacity of temper, and spoke with facility and even 
Avith eloquence. It was a pleasant thing to hear him 

* ' Perierat nisi mater regis sublevasset eum.'— Erasmi Epp. p. 1522. 
t Crespin, Marttjrologue, i" 113. 


gracefully narrating to the court circles the manner 
in which he had escaped from the fort of Pizzighitone, 
■where he had been confined after the battle of Pavia. 
' In vain,' he said, ' did I oflfer the emperor a large 
ransom ; he was deaf. Determined to escape from my 
gaolers, I bribed two of my guards; I procui-ed a rope- 
ladder, and Vivis and I — (Vivis was his page) — let 
ourselves down from the window during the night. 
My room was at a great height, situated in the main 
tower above the moat. But, resolved to sacrifice my 
life rather than the states of my fathers, I put on the 
clothes of one of my attendants, who took my place in 
my bed. I opened the window ; it was a dark night ; 
I glided slowly down the high walls; I reached the 
ground, crossed the ditches, quitted the castle of 
Pavia, and, by God's help, managed so weK that I got 
to St. Just on Christmas Eve' (1525).* 

Henry d'Albret, having thus escaped fi-om his ene- 
mies, hastened to Lyons, where he found Madame, 
and where Margaret arrived soon after, on her return 
fi-om Spain. Smitten with her beauty, wit, and grace, 
the King of Navarre courted her hand. Everything 
about him charmed all who saw him ; but Margaret's 
hand was not easy to be obtained. She had been first 
asked in marriage for the youthful Charles, King of 
Spain ; and such a union, if it had been carried out, 
might not perhaps have been without influence upon the 
destinies of Europe. But the age of the monarch (he 
was then but eight years old) had caused the negotiation 
to fail, and the sister of the King of France married 
the Duke of Alengon, a prince of the blood, but a man 

* Lettre de Henri de NavaaTe au conseiller du comtt de P(5rigord, 
27 d^cembre 1525. 


without understanding, amiability, or courage. Chief 
cause of the disasters of Pavia, he had fled frona the 
field of battle and died of shame. 

Margaret did not at first accept the homage of the 
young King of Navarre. She was not to find in him 
all the support she needed ; but that was not the only 
motive of her refusal ; she could not think of marriage 
so long as her brother was a prisoner. Henry was not 
discouraged ; he did all he could to please the duchess, 
and, knowing her attachment for the Gospel, he never 
failed, when present in the council, to take up the de- 
fence of the pious men whom Cardinal Duprat wished 
to put to death. This intervention was not a mere idle 
task. The persecution became -such, that Margaret, 
withdrawing from the attentions of the prince, thought 
only of the dangers to which the humble christians 
were exposed whose faith she shared. 

We shall see that the pope and the Sorbonne had 
more influence in France than the regent and the 

VOL. I. H H 




AT the very moment when the duchess, the Comit 
of Hohenlohe, and others were indulging in 
the sweetest hopes, the darkest future opened before 
their eyes. Margaret had dreamt of a new day, 
illumined by the brightest sunshine, but aU of a sud- 
den the clouds gathered, the light was obscured, the 
winds rose, and the tempest burst forth. 

There was a young man, about twenty-eight years 
of age, a licentiate of laws, William Joubert by 
name, whom his father, king's advocate at La EocheUe, 
had sent to Paris to study the practice of the courts. 
Notwithstandmg the prohibition of the parhament, 
WUliam, who was of a serious disposition, ventured to 
inquireinto the cathoHc faith. Conceiving doubts about 
it, he said ia the presence of some friends, that ' neither 
Genevieve nor even Mary could save him, but the Son 
of God alone.' Shortly after the issuing of the pro- 
clamation, the licentiate was thrown into prison. The 
alarmed father immediately hurried to Paris : his son, 
his hope ... a heretic ! and on the point of being 
bm-nt ! He gave himself no rest : he went from one 
judge to another: 'Ask what you please,' said the 
unhappy father ; ' I am ready to give any money to 


save his life.'* Vainly did he repeat his entreaties 
day after day; on Satm-day, February 17, 1526, the 
executioner came to fetch William; he helped him 
to get into the tumbrel, and led him to the fi-ont of 
Notre Dame : ' Beg Our Lady's pardon,' he said. He 
next took him to the front of St. Genevieve's church : 
'Ask pardon of St. Genevieve.' The Rocheller was 
firm in his faith, and would ask pardon of none but 
God. He was then taken to the Place Maubert, where 
the people, seeing his youth and handsome appearance, 
deeply commiserated his fate ; but the tender souls 
received but rough treatment fi'om the guards. ' Do 
not pity him,' they said ; ' he has spoken evil of Our 
Lady and the saints in paradise, and holds to the 
doctrine of Luther.' The hangman then took up his 
iastruments, approached William, made him open his 
mouth, and pierced his tongue. He then strangled 
him and afterwards burnt his body. The poor father 
returned alone to RocheUe. But the parliament was 
not satisfied with one victim; erelong it made an 
assault upon the inhabitants of a city which the 
enemies of the Gospel detested in an especial manner. 
A well-educated young man of Meaux had come to 
Paris ; he had translated ' certain books ' from Latin into 
French : he took Luther's part and spoke out boldly : 
' We need not take holy water to wash away our sins,' 
he said ; ' the blood of Christ alone can cleanse us from 
them. We need not pray for the dead, for immedi- 
ately after death their souls are either in paradise or 
in hell ; there is no purgatory ; I do not beUeve in it.' f 
' Ah ! ' said the angry monies, ' we see how it is ; Meaux 

* Journal (Tun Bourgeois, p. 251. \ Ibid. p. 277. 

HH 2 


is thorougHy infected with false doctrine ; one Fairy* 
a priest, with some others, is the cause of these per- 
versions.' The young man was denounced to the 
parliament. ' If you do not recant, you will be burned,' 
they said. The poor youth was terrified; he was 
afraid of death. They led him to the front of the 
cathedral of Notre Dame ; there he mounted a ladder, 
bareheaded, with lighted taper in his hand, and cried 
out for : ' Pardon of God and of Our Lady ! ' Then the 
priests put in his hands the books he had translated ; 
he read them ' every word ' (the titles doubtless), and 
afterwards pronounced them to be false and damnable. 
The books were burnt before his face ; and as for him, 
' he was taken to the Celestiues' prison and put upon 
bread and water.' 

He was not the only man of his native city who 
had to make expiation for the zeal with which he had 
received the Reform. A fuUer, also a native of Meaux, 
who followed like him the ' sect of Luther,' suffered a 
similar punishment about the same time.f ' This 
Lutheran,' said the biu'ghers of Paris, ' has the pre- 
sumption to say that the Virgin and the saints have 
no power, and such like nonsense.' 

Picardy next furnished its tribute. Picardy in the 
north and Dauphiny ia the south were the two provinces 
of France best prepared to receive the Gospel. During 
the fifteenth century many Picardins, as the story ran, 
went to Vaudery. Seated round the fire during the long 
nights, simple catholics used to teU one another how 
these Vaudois (Waldenses) met in horrible assembly 
in solitary places, where they found tables spread with 

* Journal d'un Bourgeois. Either Farel or Lefevre (Fabry), 
t Ibid. p. 281. 


numerous and dainty viands. These poor Christiana 
loved indeed to meet together from districts often very- 
remote. They went to the rendezvous by night and 
along by-roads. The most learned of them used to recite 
some passages of Scripture, after which they conversed 
together and prayed. But such humble conventicles 
were ridicidously travestied. 'Do you know what 
they do to get there,' said the people, ' so that the 
officers may not stop them? The devil has given 
them a certain ointment, and when they want to go 
to Vaudery^ they smear a little stick Avith it. As soon 
as they get astride it, they are carried up through the 
air, and arrive at their sabbath without meeting any- 
body. In the midst of them sits a goat with a 
monkey's tail : this is Satan, who receives their adora- 
tion ! ' . . . These stupid stories were not peculiar to 
the people : they were circulated particularly by the 
monks. It was thus that the inquisitor Jean de 
Broussart spoke in 1460 from a pulpit erected in the 
great square at Arras. An immense multitude sur- 
rounded him ; a scaffold was erected in front of the 
pulpit, and a number of men and women, kneeling 
and wearing caps with the figure of the devil painted 
on them, awaited their punishment. Perhaps the 
faith of these poor people was mingled with error. 
But be that as it may, they were all burnt alive 
after the sermon.* 

A young student, who already held a living, though 
not yet in priest's orders, had believed in the Gospel, 
and had boldly declared that there was no other 
saviour but Jesus Christ, and that the Virgin Mary 

* Histoire des Protestants de Picardie, by L. Rossier, p. 2. 


had no more power than other saints.* This youthful 
cleric of Therouanne in Picardy had been imprisoned 
in 1525, and terrified by the punishment. On Christ- 
mas-eve, with a lighted torch in his hand and stripped 
to his shirt, he had 'asked pardon of God and of 
Mary before the church of Notre Dame.' In consi- 
deration of his ' very great penitence,' it was thought 
sufficient to confine him for seven years on bread and 
water in the prison of St. Martin des Champs. Alone 
in his dungeon, the scholar heard the voice of God in 
the depths of his heart ; he began to weep hot tears, 
and ' forthwith,' says the chronicler, ' he returned to 
his folly.' Whenever a monk entered his prison, 
the young cleric proclaimed the Gospel to him; the 
monks were astonished at such raving ; all the convent 
was in a ferment and confusion. Dr. Merlin, the 
grand penitentiary, went to the prisoner in person, 
preached to him, advised and entreated him, but aU to 
no effect. By order of the court, the young evangelist 
' was burnt at the Greve in Paris,' and others under- 
went the same punishment. Such was the method 
employed in that cruel age to force the doctriae of the 
Church back into the hearts of those who rejected it : 
they made use of scourges to beat them, and cords to 
strangle them. 

It was not only in Paris that severity was used 
against the Lutherans : the same was done in the 
pro^-inces. Young Pierre Toussaint, prebendary of 
]\letz, who had taken refuge at Basle after the death 
of Leclerc,f having regained his courage, returned to 

* Journal cTun Bourgeois, p. 291. 

t See the History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vol. iii. 
bk. IT. ch. viii. to xiv. 


France and proclaimed the Gospel. His enemies 
seized him, and gave him up to the Abbot of St. 
Antoine. This abbot, a well-known character, was 
a violent, cruel, and merciless man.* Neither Tous- 
saint's youth, nor his candour, nor his weak health 
could touch him ; he threw his victim into a horrible 
dungeon full of stagnant water and other filth,f where 
the young evangelist could hardly stand. With his 
back against the wall, and his feet on the only spot in 
the dungeon which the water did not reach, stifled by 
the poisonous vapours emitted around him, the young 
man remembered the cheerful house of his uncle the 
Dean of Metz and the magnificent palace of the Car- 
dinal of Lorraine, where he had been received so 
kindly while he still believed in the pope. What a 
contrast now ! Toussaint's health declined, his cheeks 
greAT pale, and his trembling legs could hardly sup- 
port him- Alas ! where were those days when still a 
child he ran joyously round the room riding on a 
stick,! and when his mother seriously uttered this 
prophecy : ' Antichrist will soon come and destroy all 
who are converted.' The wretched Toussaint thought 
the moment had arrived. . . His imagination became 
excited, he fancied he saw the terrible antichrist fore- 
told by his mother, seizing him and dragging him to 
punishment ; he screamed aloud, and was near dying 
of fright. § He interested every one who saw him; he 

* 'S. Antonii abbati crudelissimo Evangelii hosti prodiderunt me.' — 
Herzog, Qicolampade, Pieces Justificatives, p. 280, 

t ' In careers pleno aqua et sordibus.' — Ibid. 

X ' Cum equitabam in arundine longa.' — Tossanus Farello, Neufcbatel 

§ ' Pro tormento quibus me afFecerunt, ut ssepe desperarem de vita.' — 
Herzog, (Ecolampade, p. 280. 


was SO mild ; harmless as a new-born child, they said, 
so that the cruel abbot knew not how to justify his 
death. He thought that if he had Toussaint's books 
and papers, he could find an excuse for burning him. 
One day the monks came to the wretched young man, 
took him out of the unwholesome pit, and led him 
into the abbot's room. 'Write to your host at 
Basle,' said the latter ; ' tell him that you want your 
books to amuse your leisure, and beg him to send 
them to you.' Toussaint, who understood the mean- 
ing of this order, hesitated. The abbot gave utterance 
to terrible threats. The aflfrighted Toussaint wrote 
the letter, and was sent back to his pestilential den. 

Thus the very moment when the evangelical chris- 
tians were hoping to have some relief was marked by 
an increase of severity. The Reform — Margaret 
was its representative at that time in the eyes of 
many — the afflicted Reform saw her children around 
her, some put to death, others in chains, all threatened 
with the fatal blow. The sister of Francis I., heart- 
broken and despairing, would have shielded with her 
body those whom the sword appeared ready to strike ; 
but her exertions seemed useless. 

Suddenly a ciy of joy was heard, which, uttered 
in the Pyrenees, was reechoed even to Calais. The 
Sun (for thus, it will be remembered, Margaret called 
her brother) appeared in the south to reanimate the 
kingdom of France. On the 21st of March Francis 
quitted Spain, crossed the Bidassoa, and once more set 
his foot on French ground. He had recovered his 
spirits ; an overflowing current of life had returned to 
every part of his existence. It seemed that, delivered 


from a prison, he was the master of the world. He 
mounted an Arab horse, and, waving his cap and 
plume in the air, exclaimed as he galloped along the 
road to St. Jean de Luz: ' Once more I am a king!' 
Thence he proceeded to Bayonne, where his court 
awaited him, with a great number of his subjects 
who had not been pennitted to approach nearer to 
the frontier. 

Nowhere was the joy so great as with Margaret and 
the friends of the Gospel. Some of them determined 
to go and meet the king and petition him on behalf 
of the exiles and the prisoners, feeling persuaded that 
he would put himself at the head of the party which 
the detested Charles V. was persecuting. These most 
pious Gauls^ as Zwingle calls them,* petitioned the 
monarch ; Margaret uttered a cry in favour of the 
miserable ; f but Francis, though full of regard for his 
sister, could not hide a secret irritation against Luther 
and the Lutherans. His profane character, his sensual 
temperament, made him hate the evangelicals, and 
policy demanded great reserve. 

Margaret had never ceased to entertain in her 
heart a hope of seeing the Count of Hohenlohe come 
to Paris and labour at spreading the Gospel in France. 
Sigismond, a man of the world and at the same time 
a man of God, an evangelical christian and yet a 
church dignitary, knowing Germany well, and con- 
sidered at the court of France as belonging to it, 

* ' Galli piisaimi ad iter se accingunt otviam ituri regi, nomine ejec- 
torum christianonim.' — Zwingl. Epp. i. p. 480 — March 7, 1526. 

t ' Scepius regem adiit . . . ut commiseratione erga Lutheranos animum 
niitigaret.' — Flor. E&nond, Hist. H<m-esis, ii. p. 223. 


appeared to the Duchess of Alen5on the fittest instru- 
ment to work among the French that transformation 
equally demanded by the wants of the age and the 
Word of God. One day she took courage and pre- 
sented her request to her brother: Francis did not 
receive her petition favourably. He knew Hohen- 
lohe well, and thought his evangelical principles 
exaggerated ; besides, if any change were to be made 
in France, the king meant to carry it out alone. He 
did not, however, open his heart entirely to his sister : 
he simply gave her to understand that the time was 
not yet come. If the count came to Paris; if he 
gathered round him aU the friends of the Gospel ; if 
he preached at court, in the churches, in the open air 
perhaps, what would the emperor say, and what the 
pope? — ' Not yet,' said the king. 

The Duchess of Alenjon, bitterly disappointed, 
could hardly make up her mind to communicate this 
sad news to the count. Yet it must be done. ' The 
desire I have to see you is increased by what I hear 
of your virtue and of the perseverance of the divine 
grace in you. But . . . my dear cousin, all your 
friends have arrived at the conclusion that, for certain 
reasons, it is not yet time for you to come here. As 
soon as we have done something, with God's grace, IwUl 
let you know.' 

Hohenlohe was distressed at this delay, and Mar- 
garet endeavoured to comfort him. ' Erelong,' she 
said, 'the Almighty will do us the grace to perfect 
what he has done us the grace to legin. You will 
then be consoled in this company, where you are 
f resent though absent in body. May the peace of our 
Lord, which passeth all understanding, and which the 


world knoweth not, be given to your heart so abun- 
dantly that no cross can afflict it ! ' * 

At the same time she increased her importunity 
with her brother ; she conjured the king to inaugurate 
a new era ; she once more urged the propriety of 
inviting the count. ' I do not care for that man,' 
answered Francis sharply. He cared for him, how- 
ever, when he wanted him. There is a letter from 
the king ' to his very dear and beloved cousin of 
Hohenlohe,' in which he tells him that, desiring 
to raise a large army, and knowing ' his loyalty and 
valour, his nearness of lineage, love, and charity,' he 
begs him most affectionately to raise three thousand 
foot-soldiers.f But where the Gospel was concerned, 
it was quite another matter. To put an end to his 
sister's solicitation, Francis replied to her one day: 
' Do you wish, then, for my sons to remain in 'Spain ? ' 
He had given them as hostages to the emperor. Mar- 
garet was silent : she had not a word to say where the 
fate of her nephews was concerned. She wrote to the 
count : ' I cannot tell you, my friend, aU the vexation 
I suffer : the king would not see you willingly ; the rea- 
son is the liberation of his children, which he cares for 
quite as much as for his own.' She added : ' I am of 
good courage towards you, rather on account of our 
fraternal affection than by the perishable ties of flesh 
and blood. For the other birth, the second delivery — 
there lies true and perfect union.' The Count of 
Hohenlohe, Luther's disciple, did not come to France. 

This refusal was not the only grief which Francis 
caused his sister. The love of the King of Navarre 

* Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 212. 
t Il^id. i. p. 466— March 21, 1528. 


had grown stronger, and she began to return it. But 
the king opposed her following the inclination of her 
heart. Margaret, thwarted in all her wishes, drinking 
of the bitter cup, revolting sometunes against the 
despotic will to which she was forced to bend, and 
feeling the wounds of sin in her heart, retired to her 
closet and laid bare her sorrows to Christ. 

O thou, my priest, my advocate, my king, 

On wliom depends my life — my everything ; 

O Lord, who first didst drain the hitter cup of woe 

And know'st its poison (if man e'er did know). 

These thorns how sharp, these wounds of sin how deep — 

Saviour, friend, king, oh ! plead my cause, I pray : 

Speak, help, and save me, lest I fall away.* 

The religious poems of Margaret, which are deficient 
neither in grace, sensibility, nor affection, belong (it 
must not be forgotten) to the early productions of 
the French muse ; and what particularly leads us to 
quote them is that they express the christian senti- 
timents of this princess. This is the period at which 
it seems to us that Margaret's Christianity was purest. 
At an earlier date, at the time of her connection with 
Bri9onnet, her faith was clouded with the vapours of 
mysticism. At a later date, when the fierce will of 
Francis I. alarmed her tender and shrinking soul, 
a veil of Catholicism appeai'ed to cover the purity of 
her faith. But fi'om 1526 to 1532 Margaret was 
herself. The evidences of the piety of the evangelical 
christians of this period are so few, that we could not 
permit ourselves to suppress those we find in the 
writings of the king's sister. 

The Duchess of Alenjon resorted to poetry to divert 

* Margiierites de la Marguerite, i. p. 144, 


her thoughts ; and it was now, I think, that she wrote 
her poem of the Prisoner. She loved to recall the time 
when the King of Navarre had been captured along 
with Francis I. ; she transported herself to the days 
immediately following the battle of Pavia; she ima- 
gined she could hear young Henry d'Albret expressing 
his confidence in God, and exclaiming from the lofty 
tower of Pizzighitone : 

Vainly the winds o'er the ocean blow, 
Scattering the ships as they proudly go ; 
But not a leaf of the wood can they shake, 
Until at the sound of thy voice they awake. 

The captive, after describing in a mournful strain the 
sorrows of his prison, laid before Christ the sorrow 
which sprang from a feeling of his sins : 

Not one hell but many million 
I Ve deserved for my rebellion. 

But my sin in thee was scourged, 
And my guilt in thee was purged.* 

The noble prisoner does not seek the salvation of 
God for himself alone ; he earnestly desires that the 
Gospel may bf brought to that Italy where he is a 
captive — one of the earliest aspirations for Italian 

Can you tell why from your home — 

Home so peaceful — you were torn ? 
' T was that over stream and mountain 

The precious treasure should be borne 
By tbee, in thy vessel frail, 
To God's electt .. . 

* Marguerites {Complainte du Prisonnier), p. 448. 
t Ibid. p. 456, 


On a sudden the prisoner remembers his friend ; he 
believes in his tender commiseration and thus invokes 

O Francis, my king, of my soul the best pai-t, 
Thou model of friendship, so dear to my heart, 
A Jonathan, Orestes, and PoUux in one. 
As thou seest me in sorrow and anguish cast down, 
My Achates, my brother, oh ! whSt sayest thou ? * 

But Henry d'Albret called Francis I. his Jonathan 
to no purpose; Jonathan would not give him his 
sister. The king had other thoughts. During his 
captivity the emperor had demanded Mai'garet's hand 
of the regent.f But Francis, whom they were going 
to unite, contrary to his wishes, to Charles's sister, 
thought that one marriage with the house of Austria 
was enough, and hoping that Henry VIII. might aid 
him in taking vengeance on Charles, was seized with 
a strong liking for him. ' If my body is the em- 
peror's prisoner,' he said, ' my heart is a prisoner to 
the King of England! 'J He gained over Cardinal 
Wolsey, who told his master that there was not in all 
Europe a woman worthier of the croAvn of England 
than Margaret of France. § But the (christian heart 
of the Duchess of Alengon revolted at the idea of 
taking the place of Catherine of Arragon, whose vir- 
tues she honoured; II and Henry VIII. himself soon en- 
tered on a different course. It was necessary to give 
up the design of placing Margaret on the throne of 

* Marguerites (^Complainte du Prisonnier), p. 460. 
t Manusorits B6thune, n" 8496, f°.13. 
X Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 31. 

§ Hist, du Divorce de Henri VIII. i. p. 47. Polydore Virgil, p. 686. 
II History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vol. v., bk. xix. 
c\\. V. 


England by the side of Henry Tudor ... a fortunate 
tiling for the priueess, but a misfortune perhaps for 
the kingdom over which she would have reigned. 

Yet the Duchess of Alen§on did not see all her 
prayers refused. On leaving his prison, the sight of 
Francis I. was confused. By degrees he saw more 
clearly into the state of things in Europe, and took a 
few steps towards that religious liberty which Mar- 
garet had so -ardently desired of him. It would even 
seem that, guided by his sister, he rose to considera- 
tions of a loftier range. 





THERE was an instinctive feeling in Christendom 
that up to this time its society had been but 
fragmentary, a great disorder, an immense chaos.* 
It felt an earnest want of that social unity, of that 
supreme order, and of that all-ruling idea which the 
papacy had not been able to give. By proclaiming a 
new creation, the Reformation was about to accom- 
plish this task. The isolation of nations was to cease ; 
all would touch each other; reciprocal influences 
would multiply from generation to generation. . . 
The Reformation prepared the way for the great 
unity in the midst of the world. 

Evangelical christians felt a consciousness, indistinct 
perhaps, though deep, of this new movement in hu- 
man affairs, and many would have wished that France 
should not yield to Germany or England the privilege 
of marching in the van of the new order of things. 
They said that since the emperor had put himself at 
the head of the enemies of the Reformation, the king 
ought to place himself in the front rank of its de- 
fenders. The Duchess of Alengon in particular was 

* Guizot, Eistoire de la Ciciliaatian en Europe. 


constantly soliciting the king, and praying him to 
recall to France the men who would bring into it 
the true Ught. But Francis received her proposals 
coldly, sometimes rudely, and cut short every at- 
tempt to answer; still the duchess was indefatigable, 
and when the king shut the door against her, ' she got 
in through the keyhole.' At last Francis, who loved 
his sister, esteemed learning, and despised the monks, 
yielded to her pressing entreaties, and above all to 
the new ideas and the exigencies of his political plans. 
The gates of the prisons were opened. 

Berquin was still a prisoner, sorrowful but com- 
forted by his faith, unable to see clearly into the 
future, but immovable in his loyalty to the Gospel. 
The king determined to save him from ' the claws of 
Beda's faction.' ' I wUl not suffer the person or the 
goods of this gentleman to be injured,' he said to the 
parliament on the 1st of April; 'I will inquire into 
the matter myself.' The officers sent by the king 
took the christian captive from his prison, and, though 
still keeping watch over him, placed him in a com- 
modious chamber. Berquin immediately set about 
forming plans for the triumph of truth. 

Clement Marot had paid dearly for the privilege of 
being Margaret's secretary ; he was in prison, and con- 
soled himself by composing his little poems. Mar- 
garet obtained his full release, and Marot hastened to 
his friends, exclaiming in a transport of joy : 

In narrow cell without a cause, 
Stut up in foul despite of laws 
By wicked men, tlie king's decree 
In this New Year has set me free.* 

* The year began at Easter ; its commencement on the 1st of January 
was not definitively settled until much later. 


Michael of Aranda, who, iii 1524, had preached the 
Gospel with such power at Lyons, had been removed 
fi'om Margaret, whose almoner he was. She sent for 
him and imparted to him her plan for introducing the 
Gospel into the Catholic Church of France, by renew- 
ing without destroying it. ' I have procured your 
nomination to the bishopric of Trois-Ch^teaux in 
Dauphiny,' * she said. ' Go, and evangelise your 
diocese.' He accepted; the truth had ali'eady been 
scattered in Dauphiny by Farel and others. Did 
Aranda share Margaret's views, or had ambition 
anything to do with his acceptance ? It is hard 
to say. 

A fourth victim of the persecution was soon saved. 
The young prebendary of Metz, the amiable Pierre 
Toussaint, was still in the frightful den into which the 
abbot of St. Antoine had thrust him. His host at 
Basle had not sent the books which the treacherous 
priest had constrained him to write for; no doubt 
the worthy citizen, knowing in whose hands his 
friend was lying, had foreseen the danger to which 
their receipt would expose him. Several evangelical 
christians of France, Switzerland, and Lorraine, par- 
ticularly the merchant Vaugris, had successively 
interceded in his favour, but to no purpose. Find- 
ing all their exertions useless, they applied at last 
to Margaret, who warmly pleaded the cause of the 
young evangelist before the king. In July 1526, 
the order for his release arrived. The officers charged 
with this pleasing task descended to the gloomy dun- 

* ' Sue Michaeli de Ai'ando Episcopo Sancti Pauli in Delphinatu.' — 
Comel. Agrippa, Epp. p. 835. 


geon selected by the abbot of St. Antoine, and 
rescued the lamb from the fangs of that wild beast. 
Toussaint, thin, weak, pale as a faded flower, came 
out slowly from his fearful den. His weakened eyes 
could hardly support the light of day, and he knew 
not where to go. At first he went to some old ac- 
quaintances ; but they were all afraid of harbouring a 
heretic escaped from the scaffold. The young pre- 
bendary did not possess Berquin's energy; he was 
one of those sensitive and delicate natures that need 
a support, and he found himself in the world, in the 
free air, almost as much alone as in his dungeon. 
' Ah ! ' he said, ' God our heavenly Father, who has 
fixed bounds to the wrath of man which it cannot 
pass, has delivered me in a wonderful manner from 
the hands of the tyrants ; but, alas ! what wiU become 
of me? The world is mad and spurns the rising 
Gospel of Jesus Christ.' * A few timid but well- 
meaning friends said to him : ' The Duchess of 
Alen9on alone can protect you; there is no asylum 
for you but at her court. Make application to a 
princess who welcomes with so much generosity aU 
the friends of learning and of the Gospel, and profit 
by your residence to investigate closely the wind that 
blows in those elevated regions.' Toussaint did 
what they told him ; he began his journey, and, de- 
spite his natural timidity, arrived at Paris, where we 
shall meet with him again. 

More important deliverances still were in prepara- 
tion. Strasbui'g was to rejoice. There was no city 

* 'Ineaniat mundus, et insultet adversus renaacens Christi Evange- 
lium.' — Tossamis CEcolampadio, July 26, 1526. Herzog, (Ecolampade, 
ii. p. 286. 

I 1 2 


out of France where the king's return had been hailed 
with so much enthusiasm. Many evangelical chris- 
tians had sought refuge there from the cruelties of 
Duprat, and were sighing for the moment that would 
restore them to their country. Among the number of 
the refugees was the famous Cornelius Agrippa. His 
reputation was not unblemished ; a book on the 
' Vanity of Science ' does him little credit ; but he 
seems at this time to have been occupied with the 
Gospel. Having received a letter from the excellent 
Papillon, who told him how favourable the king 
appeared to the new light, Agrippa, who, surrounded 
by pious men, took their tone and tuned his voice in 
harmony with theirs, exclaimed : ' All the Church of 
the saints with us, hearing of the triumphs of the 
Word at the court and in the most part of France, 
rejoiced with exceeding great joy.* I bless the Lord 
for the glory with which the Word is crowned among 
you. Would to God that we were permitted, as well 
as you, to return to France ! ' Another country was 
equally attractive to this scholar : ' Write to me what 
they are doing at Geneva . . . tell me if the Word is 
loved there, and if they care for learning.' f 

Men more decided than Cornelius Agrippa were 
to be found at Strasburg. During aU the winter the 
hospitable house of Capito had often witnessed the 
meetings of those christians who had raised highest 

* ' Gavisa est vehementissime tota Ecclesia sanctorum qm apud nos 
sunt, audientes fructum Verbi apud aulicos, itidem apud Galliam fere 
omnem.' — Cornel. Agripp. ^Epp. p. 829. 

t ' Scribe quid G-ebennis ag-atur, aut scilicet Verbum ament ? ' 
Tbe autbenticity of this letter is doxibted by Bayle, but it appears to 
me to be established by arguments -which are too long to be admitted 


the standard of the Gospel in France. There assem- 
bled the aged Lefevre, the first translator of the Bible, 
who had escaped the stake only by flight ; the pious 
Roussel, Vedastes, Simon, and Farel who had arrived 
from Montbeliard. These friends of the Reformation 
concealed themselves under assumed names : Lefevre 
passed as Anthony Peregrin ; Roussel as Tokdn ; but 
they were known by everybody, even by the children 
in the streets.* They often met Bucer, Zell, and the 
Count of Hohenlohe, and edified one another. Margaret 
undertook to bring them all back to France. The 
court was then in the south ; the king was at Cognac, 
his birthplace, where he often resided ; the duchesses 
(his mother and sister) at Angouleme. One day 
when they met, Margaret entreated her brother to 
put an end to the cruel exile of her friends : Francis 
granted everything. 

What joy ! the aged Lefevre, the fervent Roussel, 
are recalled with honour^ says Erasmus. f The Stras- 
burgers embraced them with tears ; the old man 
felt happy that he was going to die in the country 
where he was bom. He immediately took the road 
to France in company with Roussel; others followed 
them ; aU believed that the new times were come. 
In their meetings the evangelicals called to mind these 
words of the prophet : Tlie ransomed of the Lord shall 
return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy 
upon their heads : they shall obtain joy and gladness^ 
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.^ Lefevre and 

* ' Omnes Galli, contubemales ao hospites mei. . . Latere cupiunt, et 
tameu pueria noti siint.' — Capito to Zwingle, Not. 20, 1521. Zwingl, 
I!pp. i. p. 439. 

•|- ' Faber hoDorifice in GaUiam revocatur.' — Erasmi 2i:pp. p. 829, 

J Isaiali XXXV. 10. 


Roussel hastened to their protectress. Margaret re- 
ceived them kindly, lodged them in the castle of An- 
goul^me, where she was born, on that smiling hill 
which she loved so much, near that ' softly-flowing ' 
Charente, as she describes it. Lefevre and Roussel 
had many precious conversations with her. They 
loved to speak of their life at Strasburg, of the new 
views they had found there, and of the brotherly com- 
munion they had enjoyed. 'We were there,' they 
said, ' with William Farel, Michael of Aranda, Francis 
Lambert, John Vedastes, the Chevalier d'Esch, and 
many other evangelicals . . . scattered members of a 
torn body, but one in Christ Jesus. We carefully 
put out of sight all that might interrupt the harmony 
between brethren ; the peace that we tasted, far from 
being without savour, like that of the world, was per- 
fumed with the sweet odour of God's service.' 

This meeting at Strasburg had borne fruit. The 
energetic Farel, the learned Lefevre, the spiritual 
Roussel, gifted with such opposite natures, had reacted 
upon each other. Fai'el had become more gentle, 
Roussel more strong; contact with iron had given 
an unusual hardness to a metal by nature inclined 
to be soft. The sermons they heard, their fi'equent 
conversations, the trials of exile, and the consolation of 
the Spirit of God, had tempered the souls which had 
been not a little discouraged by persecution. Roussel 
had taken advantage of his leisure to study Hebrew, 
and the Word of God had acquired a sovereign im- 
portance in his eyes. Struck by the virtues of which 
the early christians had given an example, he had found 
that we must seek for the secret of their lives in the 
history of the primitive Church, in the inspired Scrip- 


ture of God. ' The purity of religion will never be 
restored,' he used to say, ' unless we drink at the 
springs which the Holy Ghost has given us.' * 

It was not enough for the refugees to have returned ; 
their christian activity must be employed to the ad- 
vantage of France. At the beginning of June, Roussel 
went to Blois. Margaret wished to make this city — 
the favourite residence of the Valois, and notorious for 
the crimes perpetrated there in after years — a refuge 
for the persecuted, a caravanserai for the saiats, a 
stronghold of the Gospel. On the 29th of June 
Leffevre also went there.f The king intrusted him 
with the education of his third son and the care of the 
castle library. Chapelain, physician to the Duchess of 
Angoul^me, and Cop, another doctor, of whom we shall 
see more hereafter, were also in that city ; and all of 
them, filled with gratitude towards Francis I., were 
contriving the means of imparting ' som.ethuig of Chris- 
tianity to the Most Christian King ' J — which was, in 
truth, very necessary. 

Thus things were advancing. It seemed as if learn- 
ing and the Gospel had returned with the king from 
banishment. Macrin, whose name Zwingle placed side 
by side with that of Berquin, was set at liberty. § 
Cornelius Agrippa returned to Lyons. Sprung from 
an ancient family of Cologne, he had served seven years 
in the imperial army ; he then became a great savant 

* ' Nisi adsint qm fontes porrigant, quoa reliquit nobis Spiritus sanctus.' 
— MS. in the Library of Q-eneva. Schmidt, Roussel, p. 188. 

f 'Faber Stapulensis bodie hiuo discedens, Blesios petiit.' — Cornel; 
Agripp. Epp. p. 484S. 

\ 'Quod transferas non nihil de obristianismo ad christianissimmu 
regem.' — ^Ibid. p. 859. 

§ ' Berquinus et Macriaiis liberabuntur.' — Zwingl. Epp. viii. 1. 


(and not a great magician, as was supposed), doctor of 
theology, law, and medicine. He published a book on 
Marriage and against celibacy, which excited much 
clamour. Agrippa was astonished at this, and not 
without reason. ' What ! ' he exclaimed, ' the tales of 
Boccaccio, the jests of Poggio, the adulteries of Eurya- 
lus and Lucretia, the loves of Tristan and of Lancelot, 
are read greedily, even by young girls * . . . and yet 
they cry out against my book on Marriage ! ' — This 
explains an incident in history : the youthful readers 
of Boccaccio became the famous ' squadron ' of Cathe- 
rine de' Medici, by whose means that impure woman 
obtained so many victories over the lords of the court. 

When men heard of these deliverances, they thought 
that Francis I., seeing Charles V. at the head of the 
Roman party, would certainly put himself at the head 
of the evangelical cause, and that the two champions 
would decide on the battle-field the great controversy 
of the age. ' The king,' wrote the excellent Capito 
to the energetic Zwingle, ' is favourable to the Word 
of God.'f Margaret already saw the Holy Ghost 
reviving in France the owe, holy, and universal Church. 
She resolved to hasten on these happy times, and, 
leaving Angoul^me and Blois in the month of July, 
arrived in Paris. 

Toussaint was waiting for her. Having reached the 
capital under an assumed name, the young evangelist at 
first kept himself in concealment. On hearing of the 
arrival of the sister of Francis, he asked permission to 
see her in private ; and the princess, as was her custom, 

* ' Leguntur avide etiam a puellis novelise Boccatii.' — Cornel. Agripp. 
Bpp. p. 833. 

t ' Bex Verbo favet' — Capito Zwinglio. 


received him with great bindness. What a contrast for 
this poor man, just rescued from the cruel talons of the 
abbot of St. Antoine, to find himself in the palace of 
St. Germain, where Margaret's person, her urbanity, 
wit, lively piety, indefatigable zeal, love of letters, and 
elegance, charmed all who came near her ! Toussaint, 
like the poet, was never tired of admiring 

A sweetness living in hex beauteous face 
"Wiicli does the fairest of her sex eclipse, 
A lively wit, of learning ample store. 

And over all a captivating grace, 
Whether she speaks, or silent are her Ups.* 

One thing, however, charmed Toussaint stiU more : 
it was the true piety which he found in Margaret. 
She treated him with the kindness of a christian 
woman, and soon put him at his ease. ' The most 
illustrious Duchess of Alen§on,' he wrote, ' has received 
me with as much kindness as if I had been a prince or 
the person who was dearest to her.f I hope,' he added, 
' that the Gospel of Christ will soon reign in France.' J 
The duchess, on her part, touched with the faith of the 
young evangelist, invited him to come again and see 
her the next day. He went and he went again ; he 
had long and frequent conversations with Margaret 
on the means of propagating the Gospel everywhere. § 
' God, by the light of his Word,' he said, ' must illu- 
mine the world, and by the breath of his Spirit must 

• Epitre de Marot a la duchesse d'Alenfon, 1526. 

t ' Principem alictueni vel hominem sibi carissimum.' — Tossanus CEco- 
lampadio. Herzog, CEcolampade, t. ii. p. 286. 

X 'Brevi regnatuxum Christi Evangelium per Galliam.' — Ibid. 

§ 'Multum sumus confabulati de promovendo Christi Evangelic' — 


transform all hearts. The Gospel alone, Madame, 
will bring into regular order all that is confused.' — 
' It is the only thing that I desire,' replied Margaret.* 
She believed in the victory of truth ; it seemed to her 
that the men of light could not be conquered by the 
men of darkness. The new life was about to rise like 
the tide, and erelong cover with its wide waves the 
arid landes of France. Margaret espied tongues 
of fire, she heard eloquent voices, she felt swell- 
ing hearts throbbing around her. Everything was 
stirring in that new and mysterious world which 
enraptured her imagination. It was to inaugurate 
this new era, so full of light, of faith, of liberty, that 
her brother had been delivered fi-om the prisons of 
Charles V. ' Ah ! ' she said to Toussaint in their 
evangelical conversations, ' it is not only myself that 
desires the triumph of the Gospel ; even the king- 
wishes for it.f And, believe me, our jnother 
(Louisa of Savoy !) will not oppose our efi'orts. J The 
king,' she protested to the young man, ' is coming to 
Paris to secure the progress of the Gospel — if, at least, 
the war does not prevent him.' § Noble illusions ! 
Certain ideas on this subject, in accord with his 
policy, were running, no doubt, in the king's mind; 
but at that time Francis was thinking of nothing but 
compensating himself for the privations of captivity 
by indulging in gallantry. 

The young prebendary of Metz was under the spell ; 
he indulged in the greatest hopes, and joyfully hailed 

* ' Quod solum est Uli in votis.' — Tossanus (Ecolampadio. 
•j- 'Neo Uli solum, verum etiam regi ipsi.' — Ibid. 
t 'Nee liorum conatibus refragatur mater.' — Ibid. 
§ 'Earn ob causam rex contendit Lutetiam.' — Ibid. 


the new firmament in which Margaret would shine as 
one of the brightest stars. He wrote to CEcolampadius : 
' This illustrious princess is so taught of God, and so 
familiar with Holy Scripture, that no one can ever 
separate her from Jesus Christ.' * Some have asked 
whether this prediction was verified. Margaret of 
Navarre, terrified by her brother's threats, certainly 
made a lamentable concession in after years, and this 
is proved by a letter Calvin addressed to her ; but she 
was, nevertheless, a tree planted by the rivers of water. 
The storm broke off a few branches ; stUl the roots 
were deep, and the tree did not perish. 

Toussaint often found the haUs of the palace of 
St. Germain filled with the most distinguished person- 
ages of the kingdom, eager to present their homage 
to the sister of Francis I. Side by side with ambas- 
sadors and nobles dressed in the most costly garments, 
and soldiers with their glittering arms, were cardinals 
robed in scarlet and ermine, bishops with their satin 
copes, ecclesiastics of every order, with long gowns 
and tonsured heads.f These clerics, all desirous 
of attaining to the highest offices of the Church, ap- 
proached the illustrious princess, spoke to her of the 
Gospel, of Christ, o{ inextinguishable love ; and Toussaint 
listened with astonishment to such strange court lan- 
guage. His former patron, the Cardinal of Lorraine, 
archbishop of Rheims and of Lyons, whom we must not 
confound with his infamous nephew, one of the butchers 
of the St. Bartholomew massacre, gave the young pre- 
bendary a most afiable reception, never ceasing to 

* ' Certe dux Alenconias sic est edocta a Domino, sic exercita ia litteris 
sacris, ut a Ohristo avelli non possit.' — Tossauus ffioolampadio. 
t 'Oum suis longis tunicis et capitibua rasis.' — Ibid, 


repeat that he loved the Gospel extremely. . . Mar- 
garet, who permitted herself to be easily persuaded, 
took the religious prattle of this troop of flatterers for 
sound piety, and inspired the young christian with 
her own blind confidence. 

Yet the latter sometimes asked himself whether all 
these fine speeches were not mere court compliments. 
One day he heard Brigonnet, Bishop of Meaux, in 
whom the most credulous still placed some hope, rank 
the Roman Church very high and the Word of God 
very low : ' Hypocritical priest ! ' said Toussaint aside, 
' you desire more to please men than to please God ! ' 
If these sycophant priests chanced to meet with any 
noble scoffers or atheists, in some apartment far from 
that of the princess or on the terrace of St. Germain, they 
fearlessly threw aside the mask, and turned into ridi- 
cule the evangelical faith they had cried up before the 
sister of Francis I. When they had obtained the bene- 
fices they coveted, they changed sides ; they were the 
foremost in attacking the Lutherans ; * and if they 
observed any evangelicals coming, they turned their 
backs upon them. Then would Toussaint exclaim: 
' Alas ! they speak well of Jesus Christ with those who 
speak well of him; but with those who blaspheme, 
they blaspheme also.' f 

Leffevre and Roussel having come to Paris fi-om 
Blois, about the end of July 1526, the young and 
impetuous Toussaint, full of respect for them, hastened 
to teU them of his vexations, and demanded that they 

* 'Primi stant in acie adversus eos quos mundua vocatLutheranos.' — 
Tosaanus CEcolampadio. 

t ' Cum bene loquentibua bene loq[uimtur de Christo, cum blaapheman- 
tibua blasphemant.' — Ibid. 


should unmask these hypocrites and boldly preach the 
Gospel in the midst of that perverse court. ' Patience,' 
said the two scholars, both rather temporising in dis- 
position, and whom the air of the court had perhaps 
already weakened, ' patience ! do not let us spoil any- 
thing; the time is not yet come.' * Then Toussaint, 
upright, generous, and full of affection, burst into 
tears. ' I cannot restrain my tears,' he said.f ' Yes ; 
be wise after your fashion ; wait, put off, dissem- 
ble as much as you please ; you wiU acknowledge, 
however, at last, that it is impossible to preach the 
Gospel without bearing the cross.J The banner of 
divine mercy is now raised, the gate of the kingdom 
of heaven is open. God does not mean us to receive 
his summons with supineness. We must make haste, 
for fear the opportunity should escape us and the door 
be shut.' 

Toussaint, grieved and oppressed by the tone of 
the court, told all his sorrows to the reformer of 
Basle: 'Dear fficolampadius,' he said, 'when I think 
that the king and the duchess are as well disposed as 
possible to promote the Gospel of Christ, and when I 
see at the same time those who are called to labour 
the foremost at this excellent work having continual 
recourse to delay, I cannot restrain my grief. What 
would not you do in Germany, if the emperor and his 
brother Ferdinand looked favourably on your efforts ? ' 
Toussaint did not hide from Margaret herself how his 
hopes had been disappointed. ' Lefevre,' he said, ' is 

* ' Nondum est tempus, nondum venit hora.' — Tossanus CEcolampadio. 
t ' Certe contiueTe non possum a lacrimis.' — Ibid. 
X ' Sint sapieutes, quantum velint, expectent, differant, et diasimulent 
. . . non potent prsedicari Evangelium absque oruce.' — Ibid. 


wanting in courage ; may God sti'engtheh and support 
him!' The duchess did all she could to keep the 
young evangelist at her court; she sought for men 
who, whUe having a christian heart and a christian 
life, would not, however, break with the Church ; she 
accordingly offered the ex-prebendary great advan- 
tages, but begging him at the same time to be mode- 
rate. Toussaint, a man of susceptible and somewhat 
hard character, haughtily repelled these advances. 
He was stifled at the court ; the air he breathed there 
made him sick; admiration had yielded to disgust. 
' I despise these magnificent offers,' he said, ' I detest 
the court more than any one has done.* Farewell to 
the coui't, ... it is the most dangerous of harlots.' f 
Margaret conjured him at least not to quit France, 
and sent him to one of her friends, Madame de Con- 
traigues, who, abounding in charity for the persecuted 
evangelists, received them in her chateau of Males- 
herbes in the Orldanais. Before leaving, the young 
Metzer, foreseeing that a terrible struggle was ap- 
proaching, recommended the friends he left behind 
him to pray to God that France would show herself 
worthy of the Word.J He then departed, praying 
the Lord to send to this people the teacher, the 
apostle, who, being himself a model of truth and de- 
votedness, would lead it in the new paths of life. 

• ' Aula, a qua. sic abhorreo ut nemo magis.' — ^Neufchatel MS. 
t 'Aula, meretrix periouloBissima.' — Tossanus OEcolampadio. 
J 'Eogate Dominuin pro GaUia ut ipsa tandem sit digna Verbo.' — 
Herzog, (Ecolampade, p. 288. 




MANY evangelical christians thougM as Toussaint 
did. They felt that France had need of a re- 
former, but could see no one who answered to their 
ideal. A man of God was wanted, who, possessing 
the fundamental truths of the Gospel, could set them 
forth in their living harmony; who, while exalting 
the divine essence of Christianity, could present it in 
its relations to human nature ; who was fitted not only 
to establish sound doctrine, but also by God's grace to 
shed abroad a new life in the Church ; a servant of 
God, full of courage, full of activity, as skilful in 
governing as in leading. A Paul was wanted, but 
where could he be found? 

Would it be Lefevre? He had taught plainly the 
doctrine of justification by faith, even before Luther ; 
this we have stated elsewhere,* and many have re- 
peated it since. It is a truth gained to history. 
But Leffevre was old and courted repose ; pious but 
timid, a scholar of the closet rather than the reformer 
of a people. 

Would it be Roussel? Possessing an impression- 

* History of the Reformation, &c. vol. iii. bk. xii. cli. ii. 


able and wavering heart, he longed for the good, but 
did not always dare to do it. He preached frequently 
at the duchess's court before the most distinguished 
men of the kingdom; but he did not proclaim the 
whole counsel of God. He knew it, he was angry 
with himself, and yet he was continually falling into 
the same error. ' Alas ! ' he wrote to Farel, ' there 
are many evangelical truths one half of which I am 
obliged to conceal. If the Lord does not rekindle 
my zeal by his presence, I shall be very inferior to 
what I ought to be.'* The pious but weak Roussel 
was just the man the duchess required — fitted to 
advance christian life without touching the institu- 
tions of the Church. Sometimes, however, dissatisfied 
with his position, and longing to preach the Gospel 
without any respect to persons, he wished to go to 
Italy . . . and then he fell again into temporising, f 

The most decided christians saw his incompetence. 
In their eyes the men round the Duchess of Alengon 
who stopped halfway were incapable of reforming 
France. It needed, they thought, a man of simple 
soul, intrepid heart, and powerful eloquence, who, 
walking with a firm foot, would give a new impulse 
to the work too feebly commenced by Lefevre and his 
friends; and then these christians, going to the other 
extreme, thought of Farel. At that time this re- 
former was the greatest light of France. What love 
he had for Jesus Christ ! What eloquence in preach- 
ing! What boldness in pressing onwards and sur- 
mounting obstacles ! What perseverance in the midst 

* 'Disaimulanda nobis sunt plurima et tot decoquenda.' — Roussel to 
Farel, Geneva MS. Schmidt, Roussel, p. 198. 
t ' Petam Venetias.'— Ibid. p. 193. 


of dangers ! But neither Francis nor Margaret would 
have anything to do with him : they were afraid of 
him. When the king recalled the other exiles, Farel 
was left behind. He was then at Strasburg with one 
foot on the frontier, waiting the order for his return, 
but the order did not come. The court had no taste 
for his aggressive preaching and his heroic firmness ; 
they Avished for a softened and a perfumed Gospel in 
France. The noble Dauphinese, when he saw aU his 
friends returning to their country while he remained 
alone in exile, was overwhelmed with sorrow and cried 
to God in his distress. 

Roussel understood Margaret's fears ; Farel, he 
knew, was not a courtier, and would never agree 
with the duchess. Yet, knowing the value of such a 
servant of God, the noble and' pious Roussel tried 
whether they could not profit in some other way by 
his great activity, and if there was not some province 
that could be opened to his mighty labours. ' I will 
obtain the means of providing for all your wants,' he 
wrote to him on the 27th of August from the castle of 
Amboise, 'until the Lord gives you at last an en- 
ti-ance and brings you to us.' * That was also Farel's 
earnest desire ; he was not then thinking of Switzer- 
land ; his country possessed all his love ; his eyes were 
turned night and day towards those gates of France 
so obstinately closed against him ; he went up to them 
and knocked. They still remained shut, and return- 
ing disheartened he exclaimed : ' Oh ! if the Lord 
would but open a way for me to return and labour 

* 'QuousqueDominusingreasumaperuerit' — Roussel to Farel, Geneva 
MS. Sctmidt, Roussel, p. 198. 

VOL. I. K K 


in France ! ' On a sudden the dearest of his wishes 
seemed about to be realised. 

One day, when there was a grand reception at 
court, the two sons of Prince Robert de la Marche 
came to pay their respects to the king's sister. Since 
the eighth century La Marche had formed a princi- 
pality, which afterwards became an appanage of the 
Armagnacs and Bourbons.* The Gospel had found 
its way there. Margaret, who possessed in a high 
degree the spirit of proselytism, said to Roussel, in- 
dicating with her eyes those whose conversion she 
desired : ' Speak to those two young princes ; seize, I 
pray, this opportunity of advancing the cause of Jesus 
Christ.' — ' I will do so,' replied the chaplain eagerly. 
Approacliing the young noblemen, Roussel began 
to converse about the Gospel. De Saucy and De 
Giminetz (for such were their names) showed no 
signs of astonishment, but listened with the liveliest 
interest. The evangelist grew bolder, and explained 
his wishes to them freely. f 'It is not for your- 
selves alone,' he said, ' that God has given you life, 
but for the good of the members of Jesus Christ. It 
is not enough for you to embi'ace Christ as your Sa- 
viour ; you must communicate the same grace to your 
subjects.' J Roussel warmed at the idea of seeing 
the Gospel preached among the green pastures which 
the Vienne, the Creuse, and the Cher bathe with their 
waters; through Gueret, BeUac, and the ancient ter- 

* Now the departments of Creuse and Haute Vienne. 

t ' Cum lios reperirem ex animo fevere, crepi libere animum explicare 
meum, et quid in illis desiderem.' — Roussel to Fai'el, Dec. 7, 1526, Geneya 
MSS. Schmidt, Roussel, p. 200. 

X 'Non satis quod Christum amplectuntur.' — Ibid. 


ritory of the Lemovices and Bituriges. The two 
young princes on their part listened attentively to 
the reformer, and gave the fullest assent to his words.* 
Margaret's chaplain made another step; he thought 
he had found what he was seeking for the zealous 
Farel; and when the sons of Robert de la Marche 
told him they felt too weak for the task set before 
them, he said : ' I know but one man fitted for such 
a great work; it is William Farel; Christ has given 
him an extraordinary talent for making known the 
riches of his glory. Invite him.' The proposition 
delighted the young princes. ' We desire it still more 
than you,' they said; ' our father and we will open our 
arms to him. He shall be to us as a son, a brother, 
and a father.f Let him fear nothing : he shall live 
with us. Yes, in our own palace. All whom he will 
meet there are friends of Jesus Christ. Our physician. 
Master Henry, a truly christian man ; the son of the 
late Count Francis ; the lord of Chateau-Rouge, and 
his children, and many others, will rejoice at his 
arrival. We ourselves,' they added, ' will be there 
to receive him. Only bid him make haste ; let him 
come before next Lent.' — ' I promise you he shall,' 
replied Roussel. The two princes undertook to set 
up a printing establishment in order that Farel might 
by means of the press circulate evangelical truth, not 
only in La Marche, but throughout the kingdom. 
Roussel wrote immediately to his friend; Toussaint 
added his entreaties to those of the chaplain. ' Never 

* ' Audiunt, assentiuntur.' — Roussel to Parel, Dec. 7, 1526. 

t 'Te periude ac filium et fratrem, imo si vis patrem iabituii.' 


K K 2 


has any news caused me more joy,' he said; 'hasten 
thither as fast as you can.' * 

The young princes of La Marche were not the only 
nobles of the court whom the Duchess of Alen§on's 
influence attracted into the paths of the Gospel. Mar- 
garet was not one of 'those who cry aloud,' says 
a christian of her time, 'but of those whose every 
word is accompanied with teaching and imbued with 
gentleness.' Her eye was always on the watch to 
discover souls whom she could attract to her Master. 
Lords, ladies, and damsels of distinction, men of let- 
ters, of the robe, of the sword, and even of the Church, 
heard, either from her lips, or from those of Roussel 
or of some other of her friends, the Word of life. 
The nobility entertained a secret but very old dislike 
to the priests, who had so often infringed their pri- 
vileges; and they would have liked nothing better 
than to be emancipated from their yoke. Margaret 
feared that the young nobles would be only half con- 
verted — that there would be no renewal of the heart 
and life in them; and the history of the wars of re- 
ligion shows but too plainly how well her fears were 
founded. Knowing how difficult it is ' to tread the path 
to heaven,' she insisted on the necessity of a real and 
moral Christianity, and said to the gay youths at- 
tracted by the charms of her person and the splen- 
dour of her rank : 

Wlio would he a christian true 

Must his Lord's example foUow ; 
Every worldly good resign 

And earthly glory count but hollow ; 

* ' Quae res sic auimum meum exhilaravit, ut nulla aiag^s. . , Perinde 
advola.' — Tossanus FaieUo, Neivfchatel MSS, 


Honour, wealth, and friends so sweet 
He must trample under feet : — ■ 
But, alas ! to few 't is given 
Thus to tread the path to heaven ! 

With a willing joyful heart 
His goods among the poor divide ; 

Others' trespasses forgive ; 
Revenge and anger lay aside. 

Be good to those who work you iU ; 

If any hate you, love them still : — 

But, alas ! to few 't is given 

Thus to tread the path to heaven ! 

He must hold death heautiful, 

And over it in triumph sing ; 
Love it with a warmer heart 

Than he loveth mortal thing. 
In the pain that wrings the flesh 

Find a pleasure, and in sadness ; 
Love death as he loveth life. 

With a more than mortal gladness : — 
But, alas ! to few 't is given 
Thus to tread the path to heaven ! * 

Would Margaret succeed? A queen with all the 
splendours of her station is not a good reformer ; the 
work needs poor and humble men. There is always 
danger when princes turn missionaries ; some of the 
persons around them easily become hypocrites. Mar- 
garet attracted men to the Gospel; but the greater 
part of those who were called by her did not go far ; 
their Christianity remained superficial. There were, 
indeed, many enlightened understandings in the upper 
ranks of French society, but there were few consciences 
smitten by the Word of God. Many — and this is a 
common error in every age — could see nothing but 
intellectual truths in the doctrine of Jesus Christ: 

* Margtierites de la Marguerite^ i. p. 333. 


a fatal error that may decompose the religious life of 
a Church and destroy the national life of a people. 
No tendency is more opposed to evangelical protes- 
tantism, which depends not upon the intellectual, but 
upon the moral faculty. When Luther experienced 
those terrible struggles in the convent at Ei-farth, it 
was because Ms troubled conscience sought for peace ; 
and we may say of the Reformation, that it always be- 
gan with the awakening of the conscience. Conscience 
is the palladium of protestantism, far more than the 
statue of Pallas was the pledge of the preservation of 
Troy. If the nobility compromised the Reformation 
in France, it was because their consciences had not 
been powerfully awakened. 

Farel would have been the man fitted for this work. 
He was one of those whose simple, serious, earnest 
tones carry away the masses. His voice of thunder 
made his hearers tremble. The strength of his con- 
victions created faith in their souls, the fervour of his 
prayers raised them to heaven. When they listened to 
him, ' they felt,' as Calvin says, ' not merely a few 
light pricks and stiugs, but were wounded and pierced 
to the heart; and hypocrisy was dragged from those 
wonderful and more than tortuous hiding-places which 
lie deep in the heart of man.' He pulled down and 
built up with equal energy. Even his life — an apostle- 
ship fuU of self-sacrifice, danger, and triumph — was as 
effectual as his sermons. He was not only a minister 
of the Word ; he was a bishop also. He was able to 
discern the young men fitted to wield the weapons of 
the Gospel, and to direct them in the great war of the 
age. Farel never attacked a place, however difficult 
of access, which he did not take. Such was the man 


then called into France, and who seemed destined to 
be its reformer. The letters of Roussel and Toussaiat 
inviting Farel were conveyed to Strasburg, and arrived 
there in the month of December 1526. 

Farel, who had remained alone iii that city after 
the departure of his friends, kept, as we have already 
mentioned, his eyes turned towards France. He 
waited and waited still, hesitating to go to Switzer- 
land, whither he was invited ; but those gates of 
France, from which he could not turn away his eyes, 
still remained closed. He reflected; he asked himself 
what place God had reserved for him. His piercing 
glance would have desired to penetrate the future. . . 
Should he not return iato Dauphiny? At Gap and 
Manosque he had relatives favourable to the Gospel : 
his brother Walter, clerk of the episcopal court ; his 
brother Jean- Jacques, who expounded the Bible Avith 
as much boldness as himself; Antoine Aloat, the no- 
tary, who had married one of his nieces ; his brother- 
in-law, the noble Honorat Riquetti, ' one of the ances- 
tors of Mirabeau,' as the record-keeper of the Hautes 
Alpes informs us.* There are certainly few names 
we might be more surprised at seeing brought to- 
gether than those of Farel and Mii'abeau; and yet 
between these two Fi'enchmen there are at least two 
points of contact : the power of their eloquence, and 
the boldness of their reforms. 

Farel did not return to Gap; had he done so, we 
may suppose how he would have been received, from 

* Lea Guerres de la Religion dans les Sautes Alpes, par M. Oharroimet, 
archiviste de la prefecture : Gap, 1861, p. 17. M. Oharroimet discovered 
this ' unexpected fact,' as lie calls it, in the municipal archives of Ma- 
nosque (proems d' Aloat). The family name of Mirabeau was Riquetti. 


the reception given to him some years later the par- 
ticulars of which an archaeologist has discovered in the 
' Annals of the Capuchins ' of Gap. Farel, already an 
old man, wishing to preach the Gospel in his native 
country before God summoned him from the world, 
went and took up his quarters in a corn-mill at the 
gates of his native town, where he ' dogmatised ' the 
peasants from a French Bible, which he explained 
'in his fashion' — to use the words of the Roman- 
cathoHc author. Erelong he began to preach in the 
very heart of the town, in a chapel dedicated to St. 
Colomba. The magistrate forbade his speaking, and 
the parliament of Grenoble desired 'to have him 
burnt,' say the Capuchins. Farel replied by a formal 
refusal of pbedience ; upon which the vice-bailiff, 
Benedict Olier, a zealous cathoHc, escorted by several 
sergeants and police officers, proceeded to the chapel 
where Farel was preaching. The door was shut; 
they knocked, but nobody answered; they broke in, 
and found a considerable throng ; no one turned his 
head, all were hstening greedily to the reformer's 
words. The officers of justice went straight to the 
pulpit ; Farel was seized, and with ' the crime ' (the 
Bible) in his hand, according to the forcible expres- 
sion of the Capuchins, was led through the crowd and 
shut up in prison. But the followers of the new 
doctrine were already to be found in every class — in 
the workman's garret, in the tradesman's shop, in the 
fortified mansion of the noble, and sometimes even in 
the bishop's palace. During the night the reformers, 
either by force or stratagem, took the brave old man 
out of prison, carried him to the ramparts, and let him 
down into the fields in a basket. ' Accomplices ' were 

CHAF. vt. IT IS TOO LATE ! 505 

waiting for him, and the preacher escaped along with 
them.* Now let us return to the year 1526. 

Berthold Haller, the reformer of Berne, invited 
Farel to Switzerland. The Bernese possessed certain 
districts in Eoman Switzerland where a missionary 
speaking the French language was necessary. The 
invitations of the pious Haller were repeated. If 
France is shut, Switzerland is opening ; Farel can 
hesitate no long,er ; God removes him from one of 
these countries and calls him. to the other; he will 

Farel, sadly grieved at the thought that his native 
country rejected him, modestly departed from Stras- 
burg, on foot, one day in the month of December 1526 ; 
and, journeying up the Ehine, directed his steps to- 
wards those Alpine districts of which he became one of 
the greatest reformers.f He was on the road when the 
messenger of Toussaint and Roussel arrived at Stras- 
burg. . . It was too late. His fi-iends, knowing that 
he was going to Berne, sent the letters after him, and 
it was at Aigle, where Farel had set up as a school- 
master, that he received the invitation of the lords of 
La Marche. What shall he do? He might return. 
Shall he put aside the call of God and of the lords of 
Berne to follow that which the princes have sent him ? 
There was a fierce struggle in his soul. Was not 
France his birthplace ? It was ; but ... it is too late ! 
God has spoken, he said to himself; and though invited 
by princes, Farel remained at the humble desk in 
his little school in the small town of Aigle, situated 

* lies Guerres de la Heligion dans lei Sautes Mpes, par M. Charronnet, 
pp. 19-22. 

■f Hist, of the Mef. of the Sixteenth Century, vol, iv. bk. xv. ch. i. 


between the majestic Dent du Midi and the rugged 
glaciers of the Diablerets. Thus the reformer whom 
many christians thought of for France was lost to 

France was not, however, without resources ; she 
still possessed Berquin, whom some called her Luther ; 
but while the exiles and the prisoners had heard the 
hour of their deliverance strike, Berquin, though 
treated with more consideration, was stUl deprived of 
his liberty. Margaret was unwearied in her petitions 
to the king. She even attempted to soften Mont- 
morency; but the Romish theologians made every 
attempt to counteract her influence. Friends and 
enemies were equally of opinion that if Berquin were 
free, he would deal many a hard blow at the hierarchy. 
At length, after an eight months' struggle, Margaret 
triumphed; Berquin left his prison in November 
1526, just at the tinae when Farel was leaving 

The Duchess of Alen9on's gratitude immediately 
burst forth. Calling Montmorency by a tenderer name 
than usual, she said : ' I thank you, my son, for the 
pleasure you have done me in the cause of poor Ber- 
quin. You may say that you have taken me from 
prison, for I value it as a favour done to myself.' * 
. . . ' My lord,' she wrote to the king, ' my desire to 
obey your commands was already very great, but you 
have doubled it by the charity you have been pleased 
to show towards poor Berquin. He for whom he 
suflPered will take pleasure in the mercy you have 
shown his servant and yours for your honour ; and 

* Lettres de la Seine de Navarre, i, p. 219. 


the confusion of those who have forgotten God 
will not be less than the perpetual glory which God 
will give you.' * 

As soon as Berquin was free he began to meditate 
on his great work, which was to destroy the power of 
error. His liberation was not in his eyes a simple 
deliverance from prison — it was a call. He cared little 
(as Erasmus entreated him) to indulge in sweet re- 
pose on the banks of the Somme ; his earnest desire 
was to fight. He held that the life of a christian 
man should be a continual warfare. No truce with 
Satan ! Now, to him, Satan was the Sorbonne, and he 
had no more doubts about the victory than if the war 
were ended already. Berquin was universally known, 
loved, and respected. To Farel's decision and zeal 
he added a knowledge of the world, which was then 
most necessary. Margaret clung to him at least as 
much as to Eoussel. It was generally thought among 
christians that God had brought him forth from prison 
in order to set him at the head of the Reform in 
France : Berquin himself thought so. The friends of 
the Reformation rejoiced, and an important circum- 
stance increased their hopes. 

Another joy was in store for Margaret. Francis 
perceived at last that Henry VIII. preferred Anne 
Boleyn to his illustrious sister, whose maid of honour 
she had formerly been. From that hour he no longer 
opposed the wishes of the King of Navarre, and in 
November consented to his union with Madame of 

* Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, ii. p. 77. The editor thinks that this 
letter was sent to Madrid; but in my opinion it is an error. 


On the 24th of January, 1527, a brilliant throng 
filled the chapel of the palace of St. Germain, where 
the marriage of the king's sister was to be solemnised, 
and every mouth extolled the genius, grace, and vir- 
tues of the princess. Margaret of France and Heniy 
d'Albret were united, and for a week there were mag- 
nificent tournaments. Francis made very fine pro- 
mises to the married pair. ' Make your mind easy,' 
he said to Henry ; ' I will summon the emperor to 
restore your kingdom of Navarre, and if he refuses, I 
will give you an army to recover it.' * But not long 
after, this prince, when drawing up a diplomatic paper 
by which he bound Charles V. to restore his two sons, 
then hostages at Madrid, inserted this clause : ' Item, 
the said king promises not to assist or favom' the 
King of Navarre in recovering his kingdom, although 
he has married his beloved and only sister.' f 

At that time Margaret was thinking of other things 
than earthly kingdoms. At this solemn moment 
she turned her eyes towards eternity, and poured out 
her heart on the bosom of a friend. ' A thousand 
chances may separate us from this world,' she said to 
Madame de la Rochefoucauld. ' Whether we be near 
or far, in peace or in war, on horseback or in our bed 
. . . God takes and leaves whom he pleases.' J The 
queen soon found that her lot was not aU sunshine, 
and that Henry d'Albret's humour was not always 
the same. Her husband's weakness ui-ged her to seek 
more earnestly ' the heavenly lover,' as she said to 
Madame de la Rochefoucauld ; and the splendid wed- 

* Dames Illustres, by H. de Coste, ii. p. 271. 

t Bethmie MSS. n" 8546, f» 107. 

X Lettrea de la Heine de Navarre, i. p. 222, 


ding, which was long talked of, made her desire the 
better marriage. It was then she wrote : 

Would that the day were come, O Lord, 

So mucli desired by me, 
When by the cords of heavenly love 

I shall be drawn to thee ! 
United in eternal life, 
The husband thou, and I the wife. 

That wedding-day, Lord, 

My heart so longs to see. 
That neither wealth, nor fame, nor rank 

Can pleasure give to me. 
To me the world no more 

Can yield delight. 
Unless thou, Lord, be with me there . . . 

Lo ! all is dark as night.* 

Prayer did not constitute the sole happiness of the 
new queen: activity, charity, an eagerness to help 
others, did not bring her less pleasure. By her mar- 
riage she acquired more liberty to protect the Eeform. 
' All eyes are fixed on you,' Capito wrote to her.f 
She thought that Roussel her confessor, and Michael 
of Aranda her bishop, were about to advance notably 
the kingdom of God, and rejoiced at seeing these 
men of learning and morality pronounce daily more 
strongly in favour of the truth. J 

The world was at one of the great turning-points 
of its history; and the friends of letters and of the 
Gospel said to themselves that France, which had 
always been in the van of society during the middle 
ages, would not now fall to the rear. Pure faith, they 

* Marguerites, i. p. 513. 

f ' Sunt in te omnium oouli deflxi.' — Capito, Comment, in Oseam, 
X ' Apud bonos et doctos, quorum non pauci sunt Parisiis, bene audis.' 
— Zwingle, Epp. i. p. 548. 


thought, -would penetrate every class, would renew 
the fountains of moral life, and teach the people at 
once obedience and liberty. Placed between the 
middle and the modern age, Fi'ancis I. would make 
the new times replace the old in everything. AU, in 
fact, was changing. Gothic architecture gave way to 
the creations of the Renaissance; the study of the 
classic authors took the place of the scholasticism of the 
universities ; and in the halls of the palace, mingled 
with nobles and priests, was seen a crowd of new 
persons — philologers, archaeologists, poets, painters, 
and doctors of the Roman law. When the light was 
thus making its way everywhere, would the Church 
alone remain closed against it ? The Renaissance 
had opened the gates to a new era; and the Refor- 
mation would give the new generation the strength 
necessary to enter them. 

But where was the man who could give to the 
world, and especially wherever the French language 
was spoken, that strong and salutary impulse ? It 
was not Lefevre, Roussel, Farel, or Berquin. . . Who 
was it then ? 

It is time that we should learn to know him. 



calyin's eaelt studies and eaelt struggles. 

THE tendencies of an epoch are generally personi- 
fied in some man whom it produces, but who soon 
overrules these tendencies and leads them to the goal 
which they could not otherwise have reached. To 
the category of these eminent personages, of these 
great men, at once the children and the masters of 
their age, the reformers have belonged. But whilst 
the heroes of the world make the forces of their epoch 
the pedestal of their own greatness, the men of God 
tliink only how they may be made to subserve the 
greatness of their Master. The Reformation existed 
in France, but the reformer was still unknown. Farel 
would have been a powerful evangelist ; but his country 
had rejected him, and, being besides a man of battle, 
he was neither the doctor nor the guide which the 
work of the sixteenth century required. A greater 
than Farel was about to appear, and we shall proceed 
to watch his first steps in the path along which he 
was afterwards to be the guide of many nations. 

In the classes of the college of La Marche in Paris 
there were, in the year 1526, a professor of about fifty, 
and a scholar of seventeen : they were often seen to- 
gether. The scholar, instead of playing with his 


class-fellows, attached himself to his master during the 
hours of recreation, and listened eagerly to his con- 
versation. They were united as a distinguished 
teacher and a pupil destined to become a great man 
sometimes are. Their names were Mathurin Cordier 
and John Calvin.* Mathurin was one of those men 
of ancient mould, who always prefer the public good 
to their own interests and glory; and accordingly, 
neglecting the brilliant career which lay before him, 
he devoted his whole life to the education of children. 
Prior to Calvin's arrival at Paris, he had the head 
class in the college and taught it with credit ; but he 
was not satisfied; he would often pause in the middle 
of his lessons, finding that his pupils possessed a mere 
superficial knowledge of what they should have known 
thoroughly. Teaching, instead of yielding him the 
pleasure for which he thirsted, caused him only soitow 
and disgust. ' Alas ! ' he said, ' the other masters 
teach the children from ambition and vain-glory, and 
that is why they are not well grounded in their 
studies.' He complained to the director of the college. 
' The scholars who join the first class,' he said, ' biiug 
up nothing solid : they are puffed out only to make a 
show, so that I have to begin teaching them all over 
again.'f Cordier therefore desired to resign the first 
class and descend to the fourth, in order to lay the 
foundations well. 

He had just taken this humble department upon 
himself, when one day, in the year 1523, he saw a 
boy entering his school, thin, pale, diffident but 

* History of the Meformation, vol. iii. bk. xii. ch. xv. 
t A Mathurin Cordier, D^dicace du Commmfaive (hla 1" Sp. mix Thess. 
par CalTin : Gen5ve, 17 fiSyrier 1550. 


serious, and with a look of great intelligence. This 
was John Calvin, then only fourteen years old. At 
first he was shy and timid in the presence of the 
learned professor ; but the latter discovering in him a 
scholar of a new kind, immediately became attached 
to him, and took delight in developing his young and 
comprehensive intellect. Gradually the apprehensions 
of the Noyon boy were dissipated, and during the whole 
time he spent at college he enjoyed the instructions 
of the master, 'as a singular blessing from God.' 
Accordingly, when both of them, in after years, had 
been driven from France, and had taken up their 
abode among the mountains of Switzerland, Calvin, 
then one of the great doctors of Europe, loved to 
turn back with humility to these days of his boy- 
hood, and publicly displaying his gratitude, he said to 
Cordier : ' O Master Mathurin, man gifted -svith 
learning and great fear of God ! when my father sent 
me to Paris, while still a child, and possessing only a 
few rudiments of the Latin language, it was God's will 
that I should have you for my teacher, in order that 
1 might be directed in the true path and right mode 
of learning ; and having first commenced the course 
of study under your guidance, I advanced so far 
that I can now in some degree profit the Church of 

At the time of Calvin's admission to college, both 
master and pupil, equally strangers to evangelical 
doctrine, devoutly followed the exercises of the 
Romish worship. Doubtless Cordier was not satisfied 
with teaching his favourite pupil Latin and Greek; 

* A Mathurin Cordier, D^dicace du Commmtaire de la V" E)\ anx 
Thess. par Calvin; Geneve, 17 ftvrier 1550. 
VOL. 1. L L 


he initiated hitn also in that more general culture 
which characterised the Renaissance ; he imparted to 
him a certain knowledge of antiquity and of ancient 
civilisation, and inspired him early with the ardour 
which animated the classical school ; but when Calvin 
says he was directed by Cordier ' in the true path,' 
he means the path of science, and not that of the 

Some time after the scholar's arrival, the director of 
the coUege, perceiving him to be more advanced than 
his class-mates, determined to remove him to a higher 
form. When Calvin heard of this, he could not re- 
press his sorrow, and gave way to one of those fits of 
anger and ill-humour of which he never entirely cured 
himself. Never did promotion cause such grief to a 
scholar. ' Dear Master Mathurin,' he said, ' this man, 
so thoughtless and void of judgment, who arranges 
my studies at his will, or rather according to his silly 
fancy, will not permit me to enjoy your instructions 
any longer ; he is putting me too soon into a higher 
class. . . What a misfortune ! ' * 

It was only a question of removing him, however, 
from one class to another, and not, as some have sup- 
posed, to another college. Calvin, while pursuing 
higher studies, still remained under the same roof as 
Cordier. He ran to him in the intervals of his lessons ; 
he hung upon his hps, and during the whole time of 
his stay at La Marche, he continued to profit by 
Cordier's exquisite taste, pure latinity, vast erudition, 
and admirable gifts in forming youth. 

* The language of the text is taken from the French ; in his Latin 
Commentary, Calvin says : ' Ab homine stolido, cujus arbitrio vel potius 
libidine,' &c. — D6dicace du Comm. de la 1" Ep. aux Theas. 


Yet the moment came when it was necessary to 
part. John Calvin had told his professor that he was 
intended for a priest, according to the arrangement of 
his father, who hoped that, thanks to the protection 
of his powerful friends, his son would attain to high 
dignity in the Church. The scholar must therefore 
enter one of the colleges appointed for the training of 
learned priests. There were two of these in Paris : 
the Sorbonne and the Montaigu,* and the last was 
chosen. One day, therefore, in 1526, the moment 
arrived when the young man had to take leave of the 
excellent Cordier. He was greatly distressed : he 
would be separated from him, not only during the hours 
of study, but for long days together. All through 
life his affectionate nature clung to those who showed 
sympathy to him. He left his master with a heart 
overflowing with gratitude. ' The instruction and 
the training that you gave me,' he said in after years. 
' have served me so well, that I declare with truth, 
that I owe to you all the advancement which has 
followed. I wish to render testimony of this to those 
who come after us, in order that if they derive any 
profit from my writings, they may know that it pro- 
ceeds in part from you.' f God has often great masters 
in reserve for great men. Cordier, the teacher, subse- 
quently became the disciple of his scholar, and in his 
turn thanked him, but it was for a divine teaching of 
inestimable value. 

When Calvin entered Montaigu College he was 
distressed, for he could not hope to find there the 

* Ohevillier, Origine de V Im2mme>-ie, p. 89. 

t ' Atc[ue hoc posteris testatum, &o.' — D^dicaoe aMathurin Cordier du 
Comm. de la 1" Ep. aux Thess. 

L L 2 


master he had lost; yet he was eager and happy 
at having a wider field of studies opening before 

One of the first professors he noticed was a Spa- 
niard,* who, under a cold exterior, hid a loving heart, 
and whose grave and silent air concealed deep affec- 
tions. Calvin felt attracted towards him. The fame 
of the young scholar had preceded him at Montaigu ; 
and accordingly the doctor from the Iberian penin- 
sula fixed on him an attentive eye. Slow, calm, and 
deliberate, as Spaniards generally are, he carefully 
studied young Calvin, had several intimate conversa- 
tions with him, and soon passed from the greatest 
coldness to the liveliest affection, ' What a wonderful 
genius ! ' he exclaimed.f 

The professor had brought from Spain the fervent 
Catholicism, the minute observances, the blind zeal 
that characterise his nation. 

The scholar of Noyon could not, therefore, receive 
from him any evangelical knowledge ; on the contrary, 
the Spaniard, delighted at seeing his pupil 'obstinately 
given to the superstitions of popery,' J hoped that 
the young man would be a shining light in the 

Calvin, fixll of admiration for the poets, orators, and 
philosophers of antiquity, studied them eagerly and 
enriched his mind with their treasures ; in his writings 
we often meet with quotations fi-om Seneca, Virgil, and 
Cicero. He soon left all his comrades far behind. 
The professor, who looked on him with surprise, pro- 

* ' Hispaniun habuit doctorem.' — Bezss Vita Calvini. 

t ' Ingenium acerrimum.' — Ibid. 

X Calvin, Preface to his Commentary on the Psalms, 


moted liim to the class of philosophy, although he had 
not attained the required age.* Then a new world, 
the world of thought, opened before his fine under- 
standing; he traversed it with indefatigable ardour. 
Logic, dialectics, and philosophy possessed for him 
an indescribable charm. f 

Calvin made many friends among his fellow- col- 
legians; yet he soared high above them all by the 
morality of his character. There was no pedantry, no 
affectation about him ; but when he was walking in 
the courts of the college, or in the halls where the 
pupils assembled, he could not witness their quarrels, 
their follies, their levity of manner, and not reprove 
them faithfuUy. ' He finds fault with everything,' 
complained a scholar of equivocal conduct. ' Profit 
rather by the advice of so young and conscientious a 
censor,' answered the wiser ones. J ' Koman catholics 
whose testimony was beyond reproach,' says Theodore 
Beza, ' told me of this many years after, when his 
name had become famous.'§ ' It is not the act alone,' 
said Calvin subsequently, ' but the look, and even the 
secret longing, which make men guilty. ' — ' No man,' 
says one of his adversaries, ' ever felt so great a hatred 
of adultery.' || In his opinion, chastity was the cro^vn 
of youth, and the centre of every virtue. 

The heads of Montaigu College were enthusiastic 

* ' Ita profecit ut caeteris sodalibua in grammatices cumculo relictis.' 
■ — Calvin, Preface to Commentary cm the Psalms. 

t ' Ad dialectices et aliarum quM vooant artiiim studium promoveretur.' 
— Ibid. 

X ' In suis sodalibus vitiorum censor.' — Bezas Vita Calvini. 

§ ' Quod ex nonnuUia etiam catbolicis idoneia testibus , . . audire 
meniini.'— Ibid. 

II ' Nemo adulteria acriiis odisse videbatur.' — Papyi'ius Masao. 


supporters of popery. Beda, so notorious for his 
violent declamations against the Keformation, for his 
factious intrigues, and for his tyrannical authority, 
was principal.* He watched with satisfaction young 
Calvin, who, a strict observer of the practices of the 
Church, never missed a fast, a retreat, a mass, or a pro- 
cession. ' It is a long time,' it was said, ' since Sor- 
bonne or Montaigu had so pious a seminarist.' As 
long as Luther, Calvin, and Farel were in the Papal 
Church, they belonged to its strictest sect. The austere 
exercises of a devotee's life were the schoolmaster that 
brought them to Christ. ' I was at that time so ob- 
stinately given to the superstitions of popery,' said 
Calvin, ' that it seemed impossible that I should ever 
be pulled out of the deep mire.' 

He surprised his tutors no less by his application to 
study. Absorbed in his books, he often forgot the 
hours for his meals and even for sleep. The people 
who lived in the neighbourhood used to show each 
other, as they returned home in the evening, a tiny 
and solitary gleam, a window lit up nearly all the night 
through : they long talked of it in that quarter. 
John Calvin outstripped his companions in philosophy, 
as he had done in grammar. He then apphed to the 
study of theology, and, strange to say, was em-aptured 
with Scotus, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas. The 
last-mentioned writer had especial charms for him. 
If Calvin had not been a reformer, he would have be- 
come a Thomist. Scholastics appeared to him the 
queen of sciences ; but he was the impassioned lover 
at first, only that he might be afterwards its terrible 

* Dictimmaire cle Bayle, m-t. Beda. 


His father, secretary to the diocese of Noyon, always 
entertained the hope of making his son a dignitary of 
the Church. With this object he cultivated the favour 
of the bishop, and spoke humbly to the canons. John 
had been for some years chaplain of La Gesine, but 
this did not satisfy the father ; and, accordingly, when 
the living of St. Martin of Marteville became vacant, 
Gerard Cauvin solicited and, to his great delight, ob- 
tained that church for the student of Montaigu, Avho, 
as yet, had only received the tonsure. This was in 
the year 1527. Calvin, taking advantage probably ot 
vacation time, went to see his family and his new 
parish. It has been supposed that he preached there. 
' Although he had not yet taken orders,' says Beda, 
' he delivered several sermons before the people.' Did 
he really go into the pulpits of his native country at 
the time when his inward struggles were beginning ? 
To have heard him would have been a great satisfac- 
tion to his father, and his age was no obstacle to his 
preaching ; some great preachers have begun stiH 
earlier. But it seems to us, after examining the pas- 
sage, that he did not speak in his own church untU 
later, when the Gospel had completely triumphed in 
his heart. But, however that may be, Calvin had a 
parish at eighteen: he was not, however, in holy 

A new light, which had but little resemblance to 
the false radiance of scholasticism, began to shine 
around him. At that time there was a breath of the 
Gospel in the air, and that reviving breeze reached 
the scholar within the walls of his college, and the 
monk in the recesses of his convent ; no one was 
protected against its influence. Calvin heard people 


talking of the Holy Scriptures, of Lefevre, of Luther, 
of Melanchthon, and of what was passing in Ger- 
many. When the rays of the sun rise in the Alps, it is 
the highest peaks that catch them first ; in like man- 
ner, the most eminent minds were enlightened first. 
But what some accepted, others rejected. In the col- 
leges there were sharp and frequent altercations, and 
Calvin was at first in the number of the most inflexible 
adversaries of the Reformation. 

A young man of Noyon, his cousin, and a little older 
than him, often went to see him at college. Pierre 
Robert Olivetan, without possessing the transcendant 
genius of his young relation, was gifted with a solid 
mind, great perseverance in the discharge of his duties, 
unshaken fidelity to his convictions, and a holy bold- 
ness when it became necessary to combat ei'ror. This 
he showed at Geneva, where his was one of the first 
voices raised in favour of the Gospel. When Calvin 
discovered that the friend of his childhood was tainted 
with heresy, he felt the keenest sorrow. What a pity ! 
he thought ; for Olivetan was acquainted not only -with 
Latin, but with Greek and even Hebrew. He read 
the Old and New Testaments in their original lan- 
guages, and was familiar with the Septuagint. The 
study of the Holy Scriptures, of which Picardy seems 
to have been the birthplace in France (Lefevre, Oh- 
v^tan, and Calvin were all three Picardins), had in- 
creased considerably since Lefevre's translation was 
published. It is true that most of those who engaged 
in it ' looked at the Scriptures in a cursory manner,' 
says Calvin ; ' but others dug deep for the treasure 
that lay hidden there.' Of this number was Olivetan, 
and he it was who one day gave to the people speaking 


the French tongue a translation of the Scriptures that 
became famous in the history of the Bible. 

The chronology of Calvin's life during the period 
of his studies is less easily settled than that of Luther. 
We have been able to point out almost the very days 
when the most striking transformations of his faith 
Avere completed in the reformer of Germany. It is 
not so with the reformer of Geneva. The exact mo- 
ment when this struggle, this defeat, or that victory 
took place in Calvin's soul, cannot be determined. 
Must we therefore suppress the history of his spiritual 
combats ? To pass them over in silence would be to 
fail in the first duty of an historian.* 

Olivetan, who was then in all the fervour of pro- 
selytism, felt great interest in his catholic cousin, 
while the latter would have wished at any cost to 
bring back his friend into the bosom of the Church. 
The two youthful Picardins had many long and ani- 
mated conversations together, in which each strove to 
convert the other.f ' There are many false religions,' 
said Olivetan, ' and only one true.' Calvin assented. 
' The false are those which men have invented, accord- 
ing to which we are saved by our own works ; the true 
is that which comes from God, according to which 
salvation is given freely from on high. . . Choose the 
true.' J Calvin made a sign of dissent. ' True 
religion,' continued Olivetan, ' is not that infinite mass 

* In the French edition, Calvin's words are quoted literally from the 
French text of the Opuscules, and his Latin only is given in the notes. 
This vsdll account for any slight differences that may he observed between 
the English version and the authorities at the foot of the page. 

t 'A cognato quodam suo Petro Roberto Olivetano.' — Bezse Vita 

% ' De vera religione admonitus.' — Ibid. 


of ceremonies and observances which the Church im- 
poses upon its followers, and which separate souls from 
Christ. my dear friend ! leave off shouting out with 
the papists : " The fathers ! the doctors ! the Church ! " 
and listen instead to the prophets and apostles. Study 
the Scriptures.' * ' I will have none of your doctrines,' 
answered Calvin ; ' their novelty offends me. I cannot 
listen to you. Do you imagine that I have been trained 
all my hfe in error ? . . . No ! I will strenuously resist 
your attacks.' f In after years Calvin said : ' My heart, 
hardened by superstition, remained insensible to all 
these appeals.' The two cousins parted, little satisfied 
with each other. Calvin, terrified at his friend's inno- 
vations, fell on his knees in the chapels, and prayed the 
saints to intercede for this misguided soul. J Oliv^tan 
shut himself up in his chamber and prayed to Christ. 

Yet Calvin, whose mind was essentially one of ob- 
servation, could not be present in the midst of the 
great movement going on in the world without reflect- 
ing on truth, on error, and on himself. Oftentimes 
when alone, and when the voices of men had ceased to 
be heard, a more powerful voice spoke to his soul, 
and his chamber became the theatre of struggles as 
fierce as those in the cell at Erfurth. Through the 
same tempests both these great reformers reached the 
same haven. Calvin arrived at faith by the same 
practical way which had led Farel and Augustine, 
Luther and St. Paul. 

* ' Legendis sacris libris 86 tradere.' — Bezsa Vita Calvini. 

t ' At egonovitate oifeusus . . . ^gerrime adducebar ut me in ignora- 
tione et errore tota vita versatum esse confiterer, strenue animoseque 
resistebam.' — Calvini Opitscula, p. 125. 

X ' Ad sanctos primum confugere.' — Ibid. 


The student of Montaigu, uneasy and troubled after 
his controversies with his young relative, shut himself 
up in his little room and examined himself ; he asked 
himself what he was, and where he was going. . . 
' Lord,' he said, ' thou knowest that I profess the 
chi'istian faith such as I learnt it ia my youth.*. . . 
And yet there is something wanting. . . I have been 
taught to worship thee as my only God ; but I am 
ignorant of the true worship I ought to give.f. . . 
I have been taught that thy Son has ransomed me by 
his death ; . . . but I have never felt in my heart the 
virtue of this redemption. J I have been taught that 
some day there will be a resurrection ; but I dread it, 
as the most terrible of days. § . . . Where shall I find 
the light that I need ? . . . Alas ! thy Word, which 
should enlighten thy people like a lamp, has been 
taken from us. || . . . Men talk in its place of a hidden 
knowledge, and of a small number of initiates whose 
oracles we must receive. . . God, illumine me with 
thy light ! ' 

The superiors of Montaigu College began to feel 
some uneasiness about their student. The Spanish 
professor, inclined, like his countrymen, to the spirit 
of intolerance, saw with horror the young man, whose 
devotion had charmed him at first, discontented with 
the traditional religion, and ready perhaps to forsake 
it. Could the best of their pupils fall into heresy? 
. . . The tutors entered into conversation with Calvin, 

* ' Ego, Domine, ut a puero fueram educatus.' — Calvini Opuseida, 
p. 125. 

■j: ' Sed ciuu me penitus fugeret vera colendi ratio.' — ^Ibid. 
% ' Eedemptionem, cujua virtus neq^uaq^uam ad me perveniret.' — Ibid. 
§ ' Cujus diei memoriam, velut rei infaustissimae abominarer.' — Ibid. 
II ' Verbumtuum . . . ademptum.' — Ibid. 


and, as yet full of affection for the young man, sought 
to strengthen him in the Roman faith. ' The highest 
wisdom of christians,' they said, ' is to submit blindly 
to the Church,* and their highest dignity is the right- 
eousness of their works.' f — ' Alas ! ' replied Calvin, 
who was conscious of the guUt within him, ' I am a 
miserable sinner ! ' — ' That is true,' answered the 
professors, ' but there is a means of obtaining mercy : 
it is by satisfying the justice of God.J . . . Confess 
your sins to a priest, and ask humbly for absolution. 
. . . Blot out the memory of your offences by your 
good works, and, if anything should still be wanting, 
supply it by the addition of solemn sacrifices and 

When he heard these words, Calvia reflected 
that he who listens to a priest listens to Christ him- 
self. Being subdued, he went to church, entered the 
confessional, fell on his knees, and confessed his sins 
to God's minister, asking for absolution and humbly 
accepting every penance imposed upon him. And 
immediately, with all the energy of his character, he 
endeavoured to acquire the merits demanded by his 
confessor. ' God ! ' he said, ' I desire by my good 
works to blot out the remembrance of my tres- 
passes. '§ He peiformed the ' satisfactions ' prescribed 
by the priest ; he even went beyond the task imposed 
upon liim, and hoped that after so much labour he 
would be saved. • . But, alas! his peace was not of 

* 'Non altiorem intelligentiam convenire quam ut se ad EcolesiEe 
obedientiam subigerent.' — Calvini Opusc. p- 125. 

t ' Dignitatem porro in openim justitia collocabant.' — Ibid. 

X ' Si pro oflfensis tibi satisfieret.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Ut bonis operibus malomm menioriam apud te deleremus.'— Ibid. 


long duration. A few days, a few hours perhaps, had 
not passed, when, having given way to a movement of 
impatience or anger, his heart was again troubled : he 
thought he saw God's eye piercing to the depths of 
his soul and discovering its impurities. ' God ! ' he 
exclaimed in alarm, ' thy glance freezes me with 
terror.' * . . . He hurried again to the confessional. — 
' God is a strict judge,' the priest told him, ' who 
severely punishes iniquity. Address your prayers to 
the saints first.' f And Calvin, who, in after years, 
branded as blasphemers those who invented ' false 
intercessors,' invoked the saints and prayed them by 
their intercession to appease a God who appeared to 
him so inexorable. 

Having thus found a few moments of relief, he 
apphed again to his studies; he was absorbed in his 
books ; he grew pale over Scotus and Thomas Aquinas ; 
but in the midst of his labours a sudden trouble took 
possession of his mind, and pushing away from him 
the -volumes that lay before him, he exclaimed : 'Alas ! 
my conscience is stUl very far from true tranquillity. '| 
His heart was troubled, his imagination excited, he 
saw nothing but abysses on every side, and with a 
cry of alarm he said : ' Every time that I descend 
tato the depths of my heart; every time, God, that 
I hffc up my soul to thy throne, extreme terror comes 
over me.§ ... I see that no purification, no satisfac- 

* ' Quam formidolosus tuus conspectus.' — Calvini Opusc. p. 125. 

t ' Quia rigidus esset judex et severus vindex, jubebant ad sanctos 
primum confugere.' — ^Tbid. 

J ' Procul adhuc aberam a certa conscientisB tranquillitate.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Quoties enim vel in me descendebam, vel animum ad te attollebam, 
extremus borror me incessebat.' — Ibid. 


tion can heal my disease.* My conscience is pierced 
with sharp stings.' f 

Thus step by step did Calvin descend to the low- 
est depths of despair ; and quite heartbroken, and 
looking like one dead, he resolved to take no farther 
pains about his salvation. He lived more with his 
fellow-pupils, he even shared in their amusements; 
he visited his friends in the city, sought such conver- 
sation as would divert his thoughts, and desired, with 
the Athenians of old, either to tell or to hear some 
new thing. Will the work of God, begun ui his 
heart, remain unperfected? 

This year an event took place which could not fail 
to stir the depths of Calvin's soul. 

* ' Nulla piacula, nullsa satisfactiones mederi possent.' — Calvini Opuso. 
p. 125. 

t 'Eo acrioribus pungebatiu aculeis conscientia.' — Ibid. 




caltin's conveesion and chanoe ojf calling. 


' rriHE kingdom of Christ is strengthened and esta- 
JL blished more by the blood of martyrs than by 
force of arms,' said the doctor of Noyon one day, 
At this period he had occasion to experience the truth 
of the statement. 

One day in the year 1527, a man thirty-six years old, 
of good family — he was related to M. de Lude — of 
ecclesiastical rank, prothonotary, and holding several 
benefices, Nicholas Doullon by name, having been 
accused of heresy, stood in front of the cathedral 
of Notre Dame, while an immense crowd of citizens, 
priests, and common people were looking on. The 
executioner had gone in the morning to the prison, 
stripped the prothonotary of his of&cial robes, and 
haAdng passed a rope round his neck and put a 
taper in his hand, had conducted him in this guise to 
the front of the church of the Virgin. The poor fel- 
low had seen better days : he had often gone to the 
palaces of the Louvre, St. Germain, and Fontainebleau, 
and mingled with the nobles, in the presence of the 

* Calvin, Comm. sur S. Jean, xviii. v. 36. 


king, his mother, and his sister; he had also been one 
of the officers of Clement VII. The good folks of 
Paris, whom this execution had drawn together, said 
to one another as they witnessed the sad spectacle : 
' He frequented the king's court, and has lived at 
Rome in the pope's service.' * 

DouUon was accused of having uttered a great 
blasphemy against the glorious mother of our Lord 
and against our Lord himself: he had denied that the 
host was very Christ. The clergy had taken advan- 
tage of the king's absence, and had used unprecedented 
haste in the trial. ' He was taken the Thursday be- 
fore,' and four days later was standing bareheaded 
and barefooted, with the rope about his neck, in front 
of the metropolitan church of Paris. Everybody was 
listesoing to hear the apology he would make to the 
Virgin ; but they listened in vain : Doullon remained 
firm in liis faith to the last. Accordingly, the hang- 
man again laid hands on him, and the prothonotaiy, 
guarded by the sergeants, and preceded and followed 
by the crowd, was led to the Greve, where he was 
fastened to the stake and burnt alive.f The execu- 
tion of a priest of some dignity in the Church made 
a sensation in Paris, especially in the schools and 
among the disciples of the Reform. ' Ah ! ' said Cal- 
vin subsequently, ' the torments of the saints whom 
the hand of the Lord makes invincible, should give us 
boldness ; for thus we have beforehand the pledge of 
our victory in the persons of our brethren.' 

While death was thinning the ranks of the evan- 
gelical army, new soldiers were taking the place of 

* Journal d!un Bourgeois de Paris sous Francois 1. p. 317. 
t Ibid. 


those who had disappeared. Calvin had been wander- 
ing for some time in darkness, despairing of salvation 
by the path of the pope, and not knowing that of Jesus 
Christ. One day (we cannot say when) he saw light 
breaking through the obscurity, and a consoling 
thought suddenly entered his heart. ' A new form 
of doctrine has risen up,' he said.* ' If I have been 
mistaken ... if Oliv^tan, if my other fi-iends, if those 
w;ho give their lives to preserve their faith are right 
... if they have found in that path the peace which 
the doctrines of the priests refuse me ? ' . . . He began 
to pay attention to the things that were told him ; he 
began to examine into the state of his soul. A ray of 
light shone into it and exposed his sin. His heart 
Avas troubled : it seemed to him that every word of 
God he found in Scripture tore off the veil and re- 
proached him with his trespasses. He shed floods of 
tears. ' Of a surety,' he said, ' these new preachers 
know how to prick the conscience, f Now that I am 
prepared to be really attentive, I begin to see, thanks 
to the light that has been brought me, in what a 
slough of error I have hitherto been wallowing ; J with 
how many stains I am disfigured . . . and above all, 
what is the eternal death that threatens me.'§ A 
great trembling came over him ; he paced his room 
as Luther had once paced his cell at Erfurth. He 

* 'Interim exercitata est longediversadoctrinse forma.' — Calvini Opusc. 
p. 125. 

t ' Hatebant prseterea quo conscientiam meam stringerent.' — Ibid, 
p. 126. 

J ' Animadverti in quo errorum sterquilinio fuissem volutatus.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Quae miM imminebat, seternae mortis agnitione, vehementer conster- 
natus.' — Ibid. 



uttered (lie tells us) deep groans and shed floods of 
tears.* He was crushed beneath the weight of his 
sin. Terrified at the divine holiness, like a leaf 
tossed by the wind, like a man frightened by a 
violent thunderstorm, he exclaimed: ' God! thou 
keepest me bowed down, as if thy bolts were fall- 
ing on my head.'f . . . Then he fell at the feet of the 
Almighty, exclaiming : ' I condemn with tears my 
past manner of life, and transfer myself to thine. 
Poor and wretched, I throw myself on the mercy 
which thou hast shown us in Jesus Christ : I enter 
that only harbour of salvation.J ... God, reckon 
not up against me that terrible desertion and disgust 
of thy Word, from which thy marvellous bounty has 
rescued me.'§ 

Following Oliv^tan's advice, Calvin applied to the 
study of Scripture, and everywhere he found Christ. 
' Father ! ' he said, ' his sacrifice has appeased thy 
wrath; his blood has washed away my impurities; 
his cross has borne my curse; his death has atoned 
for me |1 . . . We had devised for ourselves many use- 
less foUies ^ • . . but thou hast placed thy Word be- 
fore me like a torch, and thou hast touched my heart, 
in order that I should hold in abomination aU other 
merits save that of Jesus.' ** 

* 'Non sine gemitu ac lacrymis.' — Calvini Opusc. p. 126. 

-|- Opusc. Frang. p. 172 ; Opuso. Zat. p. 126. Institution, iii. 2. 

X 'Unicum salutis portuin.'^ — -Opusc. Lat. p. 114. 

§ ' Ne liorrendam illam a Verbo tuo defectionem ad calculum revocea.' 
— Ibid. p. 126. 

II ' Sacrificio iram Dei placavit, sanguine maculas abstersit, morte pro 
nobis satisfecit.' — Opusc. Lat. p. 114; Opusc. Franq. p. 156. 

5r 'Multas inutiles nugas.' — Opusc. Lat. p. 123. 

•* 'Ut pro merito abomiuarer, animum meum pupugisti.' Ibid. 


Calvin had, however, the final struggle to go through. 
To him, as to Luther, the great objection was the 
question of the Church. He had always respected 
the authority of a Church which he believed to have 
been founded by the apostles and commissioned to 
gather mankind round Jesus Christ ; and these 
thoughts often disturbed him. ' There is one thing,' 
he told the evangelicals, ' which prevents my believ- 
ing you: that is, the respect due to the Church.* 
The majesty of the Church must not be diminished.^ 
... I cannot separate from it.' 

Calvin's friends at Paris, and afterwards perhaps 
Wolmar and others at Orleans and Bourges, did not 
hesitate to reply to him. J ' There is a great differ- 
ence between separating from the Church and trying 
to correct the vices with which it is stained. § . . . 
How many antichrists have held the place in its bosom 
which belongs to the pastors only ! ' 

Calvin understood at last that the unity of the 
Church cannot and ought not to exist except in the 
truth. His friends, perceiving this, spoke openly to 
him against the Pope of Rome. — ' Men take him for 
Christ's vicar, Peter's successor, and the head of the 
Church. . . But these titles are empty scarecrows. || 
Far from permitting themselves to be dazzled by 
these big words, the faithful ought to discriminate 

* ' Una prsesertim res animum ah illis meum avertebat, ecclesise reve- 
rentia.' — Opusc. Lat. p. 125. 

t ' Ne quid Ecclesije majestati deoederet.' — Ibid. p. 126. 

% Calvin always uses tte plural number, when speaking of those 
■who raised objections against him : admonebant, loquebantur, &c. 

§ ' Multum enim interesse an secessionem q^uis ab ecclesia faciat, an 
vitia corrigere studeat.' — Optisc. Lat. p. 126. 

II ' Ejusmodi titulos inania esse terriculamenta.' — Ibid. 

M M 2 


the matter truly. If the pope has risen to such height 
and magnificence, it is because the world was plunged 
in ignorance and smitten with blindness.* Neither 
by the voice of God, nor by a lawful call of the 
Church, has the pope been constituted its prince 
and head ; it is by his own authority and by 
his own will alone. . . He elected himself. f In 
order that the kingdom of Christ may stand, the 
tyranny with which the pope oppresses the nations 
must come to an end.'J Calvin's friends, as he 
tells us, 'demolished by the Word of God the 
princedom of the pope and his exceeding eleva- 
tion.' § 

Calvin, not content with hearing the arguments of 
his friends, ' searched the Scriptures thoroughly,' and 
found numerous evidences corroborating the things 
that had been told him. He was convinced. ' I see 
quite clearly,' he said, ' that the true order of the 
Church has been lost ; || that the keys which should 
preserve discipline have been counterfeited ; ^ that 
christian liberty has been overthrown ; ** and that 
when the princedom of the pope was set up, the king- 
dom of Christ was thrown down.'ff Thus fell the pa- 
pacy in the mind of the future reformer; and Christ 

* ' Cum muudus ignorantia et hebetudine velut alto sopore oppreasns 
esaet.' — Opitsc. Lat. p. 126. 

t ' Sed voluntarium et a seipao lectum.' — Ibid. 

{ ' niam tyrannidem, qua in Dei populum grassans est.' — Ibid. 

§ ' Tantam ejus altitudinem, Dei Verbo, demoliebantur.' — Ibid. 

II ' Verum ecclesise oi-dinem tunc interiisse.' — Ibid. 

1] ' Claves, quibus ecclesise disciplina continetur, fuisse pessime adul- 
terataa.' — Ibid. 

** ' Collapsam cbristianamlibertatem.' — Ibid. 

tt ' Proatratum fuisse Cbristi regnujn, cum erectus fuisset hie princi- 
patus.' — Ibid. 


became to him the only king and almighty head of 
the Church. 

What did Calvin then? The converted often be- 
lieved themselves called to remain ia the Church that 
they might labour at its purification ; did he separate 
himself from Rome? Theodore Beza, his most in- 
timate friend, says : ' Calvin, haAdng been taught the 
true religion by one of his relations named Pierre 
Robert Olivetan, and having carefully read the holy 
books, began to hold the teaching of the Roman 
Church in horror, and had the intention of renouncing 
its communion.' * This testimony is positive ; and 
yet Beza only says in this extract that he ' had the 
intention.' The separation was not yet decided and 
absolute. Calvin felt the immense importance of 
the step. However, he resolved to break with catho'- 
licism, if necessary, in order to possess the truth. ' I 
desire concord and unity, Lord,' he said; ' but the 
unity of the Church I long for is that which has its 
beginning and its ending in thee.f If, to have peace 
with those who boast of being the first in the Church, 
I must purchase it by denying the truth . . . then I 
would rather submit to everything than condescend 
to such an abominable compact ! ' The reformer's 
character, his faith, his decision, his whole life are 
found in these words. He will endeavour to remain 
in the Church, but . . . with the truth. 

Calvin's conversion had been long and slowly ripen- 
ing; and yet, in one sense, the change was instan- 

* Tlieod. Beza, Vie de Jean Calmn, p. 8. The Latin goes farther : 
t Ac proinde seae ab illis sacris sejungere coepisset.' 

t 'Ilia ecclesias imitas qiia3 abste inciperet, acin te desineret.' — Opusc. 
Lat. p. 124. 


taneous. 'When I was the obstinate slave of the 
superstitions of popery,' he says, ' and it seemed im- 
possible to drag me out of the deep mii-e, God by a 
sudden conversion subdued me, and made my heart 
obedient to his Word.' * When a city is taken, it is 
in one day and by a single assault that the conqueror 
enters and plants his flag upon the ramparts ; and yet 
for months, for years perhaps, he has been battering 
at the walls. 

Thus was this memorable conversion accomplished, 
which by saving one soul became for the Church, and 
we may even say for the human race, the principle of 
a great transformation. Then, it was only a poor 
student converted in a college; now, the light which 
this scholar set on a candlestick has spread to the 
ends of the world, and elect souls, scattered among 
every nation, acknowledge in his conversion the ori- 
gin of theii' own. 

It was in Paris, as we have seen, that Calvin re- 
ceived a new birth ; it cannot be placed later, as some 
have wished to do, without contradicting the most 
positive testimony. Calvin, according to Theodore 
Beza, was instructed in the true religion by Ohvetan, 
before he went to Orleans ; f we know, moreover, that 
Calvin, either at Bourges or at Orleans, ' wonderfully 
advanced the kingdom of God.' J How could he have 
done so if he had not known that kingdom ? Calvin at 
the age of nineteen, gifted with a deep and conscientious 

* 'Ajiimum meum subita conversione ad docilitatem subegit Deus.' — 
Calvini Prmf. in Psalm. 

t ' A cognato OliTetano de vera religione admonitus . . . Profectns ergo 
Aureliam.' — Bezse Vita Calvini. 

X ThiSod. de Beze, Hist, des Egl. Mif. pp. 6, 7. 


soul, surrounded by relations and friends zealous for 
the Gospel, living at Paris in the midst of a religious 
movement of great power, was himself touched by the 
Spirit of God. Most certainly everything was not 
done then; some of the traits, which we have indi- 
cated after the reformer himself, may, as we have 
already remarked, belong to his residence at Orleans 
or at Bourges; but the essential work was done in 
1527. Such is the conclusion at which we have 
arrived after careful study. 

There are men in our days who look upon conver- 
sion as an imaginary act, and say simply that a man 
has changed his opinion. They freely grant that 
God can create a moral being once, but do not con- 
cede him the liberty of creating it a second time — of 
transforming it. Conversion is always the work of 
God. There are forces working in nature which 
cause the earth to bring forth its fruit ; and yet some 
would maintain that God cannot work in the heart of 
man to create a new fruit ! . . . Human will is not 
sufficient to explam the changes manifested in man ; 
there, if anywhere, is found something mysterious and 

The young man did not immediately make his con- 
version publicly known; it was only one or two of 
his superiors that had any knowledge of his struggles, 
and they endeavoured to hide them from the pupils. 
They fancied it was a mere passing attack of that 
fever under which so many people were suffering, 
and beheved that the son of the episcopal secretary 
would once more obediently place himself under the 
crook of the Church. The Spanish professor, who 
came from a country where fiery passions break out 


under a burning sky, and where religious fanaticism 
demands its victims, had doubtless waged an impla- 
cable war against the student's new convictions ; but 
information in this respect is wanting. Calvin care- 
fully hid his treasure; he stole away from his com- 
panions, retired to some comer, and sought for com- 
munion with God alone. ' Being naturally rather 
wUd and shy,' he tells us,* ' I have always loved 
peace and tranquillity ; accordingly I began then to 
seek for a hiding-place and the means of withdrawing 
from notice into some out-of-the-way spot.' This 
reserve on Calvin's part may have led to the belief 
that his conversion did not take place until later. 

The news of what was passing in Paris reached the 
little town in Picardy where Calvin was born. It 
would be invaluable to possess the letters which he 
wrote to his father during this time of struggle, and 
even those of Oliv^tan ; but we have neither. John's 
relations with OUv^tan were known at Noyon ; there 
was no longer any doubt about the heretical opinions 
of the young cure of St. Martin of Motteville. . . 
What trouble for his family, and especially for the epi- 
scopal notary ! To renounce the hope of one day seeing 
his son vicar-general, bishop, and perhaps cardinal, 
was distressing to the ambitious father. Yet he 
decided promptly, and as it was all-important for him 
that Calvin should be something, he gave another 
direction to his immoderate thirst for honours. He 
said to himself that by making his son study the law, 
he would perhaps be helping him to shake off these 
new ideas ; and that, in any case, the pursuit of the 

* Preface to tlie Commeirtary on tlie Psalms. 


law was quite as sure a road, and even surer, to wealth 
and high station.* Duprat, at first a plain lawyer, 
and afterwards president of the parliament, is now 
(he thought) high chancellor of France, and the first 
personage in the realm after the king. Gerard, whose 
mind was fertile in schemes of sxiccess for himself 
and for others, continued to build his castles in the 
air in honour of his son ; only he changed his sphere, 
and instead of placing them in the domain of the 
Church, he erected them in the domain of the State. 

Thus, while the son had a new faith and a new 
life, the father had a new plan. Theodore Beza has 
pointed out this coincidence. After speaking of 
Calvin's vocation to the ecclesiastical profession, he 
adds that a double change, which took place at that 
time in the minds of both father and son, led to the 
yetting aside of this resolution in favour of another.f 
The coincidence struck Calvin himself, and it was he 
no doubt who pomted it out to his fi'iend at Geneva. 
It was not therefore the resolution of Gerard Cauvin 
that decided his son's calling, as some have supposed. 
At the first glance the two decisions seem indepen- 
dent of each other; but it appears probable to me 
that it was the change in the son which led to 
that of the father, and not the change in the father 
which led to that of the son. The young man sub- 
mitted with joy to the order he received. Gerard, by 
taking his son fi-om his theological studies, -wished 
to withdraw htm from heresy; but he was mistaken. 
Had not Luther first studied the law at Erfurth ? 

* 'Quod jurisprudentiaiu certius iter esse ad opes et honores videret.' 
— Bezaj Vita Calvini. 

t ' Sed hoc consilium interrupit utriusque mutatua animus.' — Ibid. 


Did not Calvin by this same study prepare himself 
better for the career of a reformer, than by the 
priesthood ? 

Conversion is the fundamental act of the Gospel and 
of the Reformation. From the transformation effected 
in the individual the transformation of the world is 
destined to result. This act, which in some is of very 
short duration and leads readily to faith, is a long 
operation in others ; the power of sia is continually 
renewed in them, neither the new man nor the old man 
being able, for a time, to obtain a decisive victory. 
"We have here an image of Christianity. It is a struggle 
of the new man against the old man — a struggle 
that has lasted more than eighteen hundred years. 
The new man is continually gaining gi-ound; the old 
man grows weaker and retires; but the hour of 
triumph has not yet come. Yet that hour is certain. 
The Reformation of the sixteenth century, like the 
Gospel of the first (to employ the words of Christ), 
' is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in 
three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.'' * 
The three great nations on earth have already 
tasted of this heavenly leaven. It is fermenting, and 
soon all the ' lump ' will be leavened. 

* Mattliew xiii. 33. 




WILL the reformer whom God is now preparing 
for France find ia Francis I. the support which 
Luther found in Frederick the Wise ? Since his return 
from captivity in Spain, the king, as we have seen, 
appeared to yield to the influence of his sister and to 
the movement of the age. Slightly touched by the 
new breath, he sometimes listened to the sermons of 
the evangelicals, and read fragments of the Holy Scrip- 
tures with Margaret. One day, when the beauty of 
the Gospel had spoken to his heart, he exclaimed: 
' It is infamous that the monks should dare to call 
that heresy which is the very doctrine of God ! ' 
But the Reformation could not please him; liberty, 
which was one of its elements, clashed with the 
despotism of the prince ; and holiness, another prin- 
ciple, condemned his ii'regularities. 

Opposition to popery had, however, a certain charm 
for Francis, whose supreme rule it was to lower 
everything that encroached upon his greatness. He 
well remembered that the popes had more than once 
humbled the kmgs of France, and that Clement VII. 
was habitually in the interest of the emperor. But 


political motives will never cause a real Reforma- 
tion ; and hence there are few princes who have 
contributed so much as Francis I. to propagate super- 
stition instead of truth, servility instead of liberty, 
licentiousness instead of morality. If the Word of 
God does not exercise its invisible power on the 
nations, they are by that very defect deprived of the 
conditions necessary to the maintenance of order and 
liberty. They may shine forth with great brilliancy, 
but they pass easily from disorder to tyranny. They 
are like a stately ship, decorated with the most glorious 
banners, and armed with the heaviest artillery ; but as 
it wants the necessary ballast, it drives between two 
extreme dangers, now dashing against Scylla, and 
now tossed upon Charybdis. 

While Francis I. was trifling with the Reform, 
other powers in France remained its irreconcilable 
enemies. The members of the parliament, honourable 
men for the most part, but lawyers still, unable to 
recognise the truth (and few could in those days) 
that spiritual matters were not within their jurisdic- 
tion, did not confine themselves to judging temporal 
offences, but made themselves the champions of the 
law of the realm against the law of God. The doctors 
of the Sorbonne, on their part, seeing that the two- 
fold authority of Holy Scripture and of conscience 
would ruin theirs, opposed with all their strength the 
substitution of the religious for the clerical element. 
' They inveighed against the refonners,' says Roussel, 
' and endeavoured to stir up the whole world against 
them.' * The more the king inclined to peace, the 

* ' Inde adversarii ansara sixmpsere debacchandi in nos et commovendi 
univeraos.' — Eufus Farello, Gcnev. 5tSS. Schmidt, p. 198. 


more the Sorbonne called foi^ war, counting its batta- 
lions and preparing for the fight. The general placed 
at its head was, Erasmus tells us, ' a many-headed 
monster, breathing poison from every mouth.' * Beda 
— for he was the monster — taking note of the age of 
Lefevre, the weakness of Roussel, the absence of Farel, 
and not knowing Calvin's power, said to himself that 
Berquin would be the Luther of France, and against 
him he directed all his attacks. 

Louis de Berquin, who was liberated by the king, 
in November 1526, from the prison into which the 
Bedists had thrown him, had formed the daring plan 
of rescuing France from the hands of the pope. He 
was then thirty years of age, and possessed a charm 
in his character, a purity in his life, which even his 
enemies admired, unwearied application in study, indo- 
mitable energy, obstinate zeal, and firm perseverance 
for the accomplishment of his work. Yet there was 
one fault in him. Calvin, like Luther, proceeded 
by the positive method, putting the truth in front, 
and in this way seeking to efifect the conversion of 
souls; but Berquin inclined too much at times to 
the negative method. Yet he was fall of love, and 
having found in God a father, and in Jesus a saviour, 
he never contended with theologians, except to impart 
to souls that peace and joy which constituted his own 

Berquin did not move forward at hazard ; he had 
calculated everything. He had said to himself that 
in a country like France the Reformation could not 
be carried through against the king's will; but he 

* ' Quotque capitibus aiSaret venenum.' — Erasmi Epp. p. 1280. 


thought that Francis -would allow the work to be 
done, if he did not do it himself. When he had been 
thrust into prison in 1523, had not the king, then on 
his way to Italy, sent the captain of the guards to 
fetch hiin, in order to save his life? * When in 1526 
he had been transferred as a heretic by the clerical 
judges to lay judges, had not Francis once more set 
him at liberty ? f 

But Berquin's noble soul did not suffer the triumph 
of truth to depend upon the support of princes. A 
new era was then beginning. God was reanimating 
society which had lain torpid during the night of the 
middle ages, and Berquin thought that God would 
not be wanting to the work. It is a saying of Calvin's 
' that the brightness of the divine power alone scatters 
aU silly enchantments and vain imaginations.' Berquin 
did not distinguish this truth so clearly, but he was 
not ignorant of it. At the same time, knowing that 
an army never gains a victory unless it is bought 
with the deaths of many of its soldiers, he was ready 
to lay down his life. 

At the moment when he was advancing almost 
alone to attack the colossus, he thought it his duty to 
inform his friends : ' Under the cloak of religion,' he 
wrote to Erasmus, ' the priests hide the vilest passions, 
the most corrupt manners, the most scandalous un- 
belief. We must tear off the veil that conceals this 
hideous mystery, and boldly brand the Sorbonne, 
Rome, and all their hirelings, with impiety.' 

At these words his friends were troubled and 
alarmed ; they endeavoured to check his impetuosity. 

* Journal ctun Bourgcoit. de Paris, p. 170. 
t Ibid. p. 277. 


' The greater the success you promise yourself,' -vvrote 
Erasmus, ' the more afraid I am. . . my friend ! 
live in retirement ; taste the sweets of study, and let 
the priests rage at their leisure. Or, if you think they 
are plotting your ruin, employ stratagem. Let your 
friends at court obtain some embassy for you from the 
king, and under that pretext leave France.* Think, 
dear Berquin, think constantly what a hydra you are 
attacking, and by how many mouths it spits its venom. 
Your enemy is UTimortal, for a faculty never dies. 
You will begin by attacking three monks only ; but 
you will raise up against you numerovis legions, rich, 
mighty, and perverse. Just now the princes are for 
you ; but backbiters will contrive to alienate their 
affection. As for me, I declare I will have nothing 
to do with the Sorbonne and its armies of monks.' 

This letter disturbed Berquin. He read it again 
and again, and each time his trouble increased. He 
an ambassador ... he the representative of the king 
at foreign courts ! Ah ! when Satan tempted Christ 
he offered him the kingdoms of this world. Better be 
a martyr on the Greve for the love of the Saviour ! 
Berquin separated from Erasmus. ' His spirit,' said 
his friends, ' resembles a palm-tree ; the more you de- 
sire to bend it, the straighter it grows.' A trifling 
circumstance contributed to strengthen his decision. 

One day Beda, syndic of the Sorbonne, went to 
court, where he had some business to transact with 
the king on behalf of that body. Some time before, 
he had published a refutation of the ' Paraphrases and 
Annotations ' of Erasmus, and Francis I., who boasted 

* ' Curarent amici ut prsetextu regise legationia longius profioisceretm-.' 
— Erasmi Epp. p. 1280. 


of being a pupil of this king of letters, having heard of 
Beda's attack, had given way to a fit of passion. As 
soon, therefore, as he heard that Beda was in the palace, 
he gave orders that he should be arrested nnd kept 
prisoner. Accordingly the syndic was seized, shut up 
in a chamber, and closely watched. Beda was exas- 
perated, and the hatred he felt against the Reforma- 
tion was turned against the king. Some of his friends, 
on hearing of this strange adventure, conjured Francis 
to set him at liberty. He consented on the following 
day, but on condition that the syndic should appear 
when called for.* 

The Sorbonne, said Berquin to himself, represents 
the papacy. It must be overthrown in order that 
Christ may triumph. He began first to study the 
writings of Beda, who had so bitterly censured 
those of his adversaries, and extracted from them 
twelve propositions ' manifestly impious and blasphe- 
mous ' in the opinion of Erasmus. Then, taking his 
manuscript, he proceeded to court and presented it 
to the king, who said : ' I will interdict Beda's po- 
lemical writings.' As Francis smiled upon him, Ber- 
quin resolved to go further, namely, to attack the 
Sorbonne and popery, as equally dangerous to the 
State and to the Church, and to make public certain 
doctrines of theirs which struck at the power of the 
throne. He approached the king, and said to him 
in a lower tone : ' Sire, I have discovered in the acts 
and papers of the Sorbonne certain secrets of import- 
ance to the State . . . some mysteries of iniquity.' f 

* Chevillier, Origine de I'Imprimme de Paris. 

t ' Deprehenderat qufedam arcana in illonim actis.' — Erasmi j^jp. p, 110. 


Nothing was better calculated to exasperate Francis I. 
' Show me those passages,' he exclaimed. Meantime 
he told the reformer that the twelve propositions of 
the syndic of the Sorbonne should be examined. Ber- 
quin left the palace fuU of hope. ' I will follow these 
redoubtable hornets into their holes,' he said to his 
friends. ' I will faU upon these insensate babblers, 
and scourge them on their own dunghill.' Some 
people who heard him thought him out of his mind. 
' This gentleman will certainly get himself put to 
death,' they said, 'and he will richly deserve it.' * 

Everything seemed to favour Berquin's design. 
Francis I. was acting the part of Frederick the Wise : 
he seemed even more ardent than that moderate pro- 
tector of Luther. On the 12th of July, 1527, the 
Bishop of Bazas appeared at court, whither he had 
been summoned by the king. Francis gave him the 
twelve famous propositions he had received from Ber- 
quin, and commanded him to take them to the rector 
of the university, with orders to have them examined, 
not only by doctors of divinity, of whom he had 
suspicions in such a matter,f but by the four assembled 
faculties. Berquin hastened to report this to Erasmus, 
still hoping to gain him over by the good news. 

Erasmus had never before felt so alarmed ; he tried 
to stop Berquin in his ' mad ' undertaking. The eu- 
logies which this faithful christian lavished upon him 
particularly filled him with terror ; he would a thousand 
times rather they had been insults. ' The love which 
you show for me,' he wrote to Berquin, ' stirs up un- 
speakable hatred against me everywhere. The step 

* Journal cCnn Bmirgeois de Paris, p. 170. 

t ' Quo3 in hac materia suspectos habebat.'— Eegisters of the Faculty, 
VOL. I. N N 


you have taken with the king will only serve to irritate 
the hornets. You wish for a striking victory rather 
than a sure one ; your expectations will be dis- 
appointed; the Bedists are contriving some atrocious 
plot.* . . . Beware ! . . . Even should your cause 
be holier than that of Christ himself, your ene- 
mies have resolved to put you to death. You say 
that the king protects you ... do not trust to that; 
the favour of priaces is short-lived. You do not care 
for your Hfe, you add ; good ! but think at least of 
learning, and of our friends who, alas ! will perish 
with you.' 

Berquin was grieved at this letter. In his opinion 
the moment was unparalleled. If Erasmus, Francis I., 
and Berquin act in harmony, no one can resist them; 
France, and perhaps Europe, wiU be reformed. And 
it is just when the King of France is stretching out 
his hand that the scholar of Rotterdam draws his 
back! . . . What can be done without Erasmus? . . . 
A circumstance occurred, however, which gave some 
hope to the evangelist. 

The Sorbonne, little heeding the king's opposition, 
persevered in their attacks upon learning. They 
forbade the professors in the coUeges to read the 
' Colloquies ' of Erasmus with their pupils, and ex- 
communicated the king of the schools in the schools 
themselves. . . Erasmus, who was a vain, susceptible, 
choleric man, will now unite with Berquin : the latter 
had no doubt of it. ' The time is come,' wrote Ber- 
quin to the illustrious scholar ; ' let us pull off the 
mask behind which these theologians hide themselves.' 

* ' Satis odoror, ex amicorum Uteris, Beddaicos aliquid atrox moliri.' — 
Erasmi Epp. p. 1052. 


But the more Berquin urged Erasmus, the more 
Erasmus shrank back ; he wished for peace at any 
cost. It was of no use to point to the blows which 
the Sorbonne were aiming at him ; it pleased him to be 
beaten, not from meekness, but from fear of the world. 
The wary man, who was now growing old, became im- 
patient, not against his slanderers, but against Ids 
friend. His ' son ' wanted to lead him as if he were 
his master. He replied with sadness, almost with 
bitterness : ' Truly I admire you, my dear Berquin. 
You imagine, then, that I have nothing else to do 
than spend my days in battling with theologians. . . 
I would rather see all my books condemned to the 
flames than go fighting at my age.' Unhappily, Eras- 
mus did not abandon his books only, he abandoned 
truth ; and there he was wrong. Berquin did not 
despair of victory, and undertook to win it unaided. 
He thought to himself: ' Erasmus admires in the Gos- 
pel a certain harmony with the wisdom of antiquity, 
but he does not adore in it the foolishness of the cross ; 
he is a theorist, not a reformer.' From that hour 
Berquin wrote more rarely and more coldly to his 
illustrious master, and employed all his strength to 
carry by main force the place he was attacking. If 
Erasmus, like Achilles, had retired to his tent, were 
not Margaret and Francis, and Truth especially, fight- 
ing by his side ? 

The catholic party grew alarmed, and resolved to 
oppose a vigorous resistance to these attacks. The 
watchword was given. Many libels were circulated ; 
men were threatened Avith the gaol and the stake ; 
even ghosts were conjured up ; all means were lawful. 
One sister Alice quitted the fires of purgatory and 

N N 2 


appeared on the banks of the Rhone and Saone to con- 
found ' the damnable sect of heretics.' Any one might 
read of this prodigy in the ' Marvellous History of the 
Ghost of Lyons,' written by one of the king's almoners. 
The Sorbonne knew, however, that phantoms were not 
sufficient ; but they had on their side something more 
than phantoms. They could oppose Berquin with 
adversaries who had flesh and blood like himself, and 
whose power seemed irresistible. These adversaries 
were a princess and a statesman. 






WOMAN reigned in the councils of the king. 

Inclined at first to ridicule the monks, she had 
after the defeat of Pavia gone over to the side of the 
priests. At the moment when the kingly authority 
received such a blow, she had seen that their power 
remained, and had made them her auxiliaries. This 
woman was Louisa of Savoy, Duchess of Angouleme, 
mother of Francis I., worthy predecessor of Catherine 
de' Medici. A clever woman, ' an absolute lady in 
her wishes both good and bad,' says Pasquier ; a free- 
thinker, who could study the new doctrine as a curio- 
sity, but who despised it ; a dissolute woman, of whom 
Beaucaire, Brant6me, and others relate many scanda- 
lous anecdotes ; a fond and absolute mother, who all 
her life preserved an almost sovereign authority over 
her son, — Louisa held in her hand two armies which 
she managed at will. One of these was composed of 
her maids of honour, by whose means she introduced 
into the court of France gallantry, scandal, and even 
indecency of language ; the other was formed of in- 
telligent, crafty men, who had no religion, no morality, 
no scruples ; and at their head was Duprat. 


The latter was the patron upon whom the Sorbonne 
thought they could rely. Enterprising and systematic, 
at once supple and firm, slavish and tyrannical, an 
intriguer and debauchee, often exasperated, never 
discouraged, ' very clever, knowing, and subtle,' says 
the Bourgeois de Paris ; ' one of the most pernicious 
men that ever lived,' says another historian : * Duprat 
sold offices, ground the people down, and if any of them 
remonstrated against his disorders, he sent the remon- 
strants to the Bastille. f This man, who was arch- 
bishop of Sens and cardinal, and who aspired to be 
made legate a latere^ having become a prince of the 
Roman Church, placed at its service his influence, his 
iron will, and even his cruelty. 

But nothing could be done without the king. 
Louisa of Savoy and the cardinal, knowing his fickle- 
ness and his love of pleasure, and knowing also that 
in religious matters he cared only for pomp and 
ceremony, hoped to induce him easily to oppose the 
Reformation. Yet Francis hesitated and even resisted. 
He pretended to have a great taste for letters, of which 
the Gospel, in his eyes, formed part. He yielded 
willingly to his sister, who pleaded warmly the cause 
of the friends of the Gospel. He detested the arro- 
gance of the priests. The boldness with which they 
put forward ultramontane ideas; set. another power 
(the power of the pope) above his; attacked his 
ideas in conversations, pamphlets, and even in the 
pulpit; their restless character, their presumptuous 
confidence in the triumph of their cause, — all this 
irritated one of the most susceptible monarchs that 

* Eeynier de la Planche, Hist, de VEtat de France, p. 5. 
+ Jom~ndl d!un Bourgeois de Paris, p. 160. 


ever reigned ; and he was pleased at seeing a man like 
Berquin take down the boasting of the clergy. 

Yet it may well be that the king was influenced by 
higher motives. He saw the human mind displaying 
a fresh activity in every direction. The literaiy, the 
philosophical, the political, the religious world were 
all undergoiug important transformations in the first 
half of the sixteenth century. In the midst of all 
these different movements, Francis I. may have some- 
times had a confused feeling that there was one which 
was the mainspring, the dominant fact, the generating 
principle, and, if I may use the words, the fiat lux of 
the new creation. He saw that the Reformation was 
the great force then acting in the world; that all 
others were subordinate to it; that to it belonged, 
according to an ancient prophecy, the gathering of the 
people •* and iu these moments, when his sight was 
clear, he wished to join liimself to that invisible power 
which was effecting more than all the other powers. 
Unfortunately his passions soon disturbed his sight, 
and after having caught a glimpse of the day, he 
plunged back again into night. 

As for Duprat he felt no hesitation ; he resolutely 
put himself on the side of darkness, impelled by 
ambition and covetousness : he was always with the 
ultramontanists. The struggle was about to begin 
between the better aspirations of the king and the 
plots of the court of Rome. It was hard to say with 
which of these two powers the victory would ulti- 
mately remain. The chancellor-cardinal had, however, 
no doubt about it ; he arranged the attack with skill, 

* Genesis xlix. 10, 


and thought he had hit upon a way, as vile as it was 
sure, of checking the Reform. 

The king had to provide for the heav}-' charges 
Avliich the treaty of Madrid imposed upon him, and 
he had no money. He applied to the clergy. ' Good ! ' 
said they ; ' let us take advantage of the opportunity 
given us.' They furnished 1,300,000 livres, but de- 
manded in return, according to Duprat's suggestion, 
that his Majesty ' should extirpate the damnable and 
insupportable Lutheran sect which some time since 
had secretly crept into the kingdom.' * The king, who 
wanted money, would be ready to grant everything 
in order to fill his coffers; it seemed, then, that all 
was over not only with Berquin, but with the Refor- 

Margaret, who was then at Fontainebleau with the 
King of Navarre, heard of the demand the clergy had 
made to the king, and trembled lest Francis should 
deliver up her friends to the persecutions of the 
cardinal. She immediately endeavoured to exercise 
over her brother that influence to which in those 
days he yielded readily. She- succeeded : the king, 
although putting the contribution of the clergy into 
his treasury, did not order ' the extirpation of the 
Lutheran heresy.' 

Yet Margaret did not feel secure. She experienced 
the keenest anguish at the thought of the danger 
which threatened the Gospel. 

True God of heaven, give comfort to my soul ! 

she said in one of her poems. Her soul was 
comforted. The aged Lef^vre, who was at that time 

* Isambert, Hemic <Jes anciennes Lois Frangaises, xii. p. 268. 


translating the Bible and the homilies of St. Chryso- 
stom on the Acts of the Apostles, and teaching his 
young pupil, the Duke of Angouleme, to leam the 
Psalms of David by heart, rekindled her fire, and 
"with his failing voice strengthened her in the faith. 
'Do not be afraid,' he said; 'the election of God is 
very mighty.' * — ' Let us pray in faith,' said Roussel; 
' the main thing is that faith should accompany our 
prayers.' The friends at Strasburg entreated Luther 
to strengthen her by some good letter. As soon as 
Erasmus heard of the danger which the Gospel ran, 
he was moved, and, with the very pen with which he 
had discouraged Berquin, he wrote : 

' queen, still more illustrious by the purity of 
your life than by the splendour of your race and 
of your crown, do not fear ! He who works every- 
thing for the good of those whom he loves, knows 
what is good for us, and, when he shall judge fit, will 
suddenly give a happy issue to our afi'airs.f It is 
when human reason despaii'S of everything that the 
impenetrable wisdom of God is made manifest in all its 
glory. Nothing but what is happy can befall the man 
who has fixed the anchor of his hopes on God. Let 
us place ourselves wholly in his hands. But what am 
I doing ? . . . I know, Madame, that it is not necessary 
to excite you by powerful iucentives, and that we ought 
rather to thank you for having protected from the 
malice of wicked men sound learning and all those 
who sincerely love Jesus Christ. 'J 

The queen's condition tended erelong to give a 

» ' Dei autem eleotio efficacissima et potentissima.' — Fatri Comment. 
•]- ' Omnia repents vertet in Isetum exitum.' — Erasmus Eeginse Na- 
varrEe, Aug. 1527. 

J 'Bonas litteras ac viros sincere Christum amantes tueri.' — ^Ibid. 


new direction to her thoughts. She hoped for a 
daughter, and often spoke about it in her letters. This 
daughter was indeed given her, and she became the 
most remarkable woman of her age. Calm and some- 
what dejected, Margaret, who was then living alone in 
the magnificent palace of Fontainebleau, sought diver- 
sion in the enjojnoaent of the beauties of nature, dur- 
ing her daily walks in the park and the forest. ' My 
condition,' she wrote on the 27th of September, 1527, 
' does not prevent my visiting the gardens twice a day, 
where I am wonderfully at my ease.' She walked 
slowly, thinking of the child about to be given her, 
and rejoicing in the light of the sun. Then reverting 
to him who held the chief place in her heart, she 
called to mind the true sun (Jesus Christ), and, 
grieving that his rays did not enlighten the whole of 
France, exclaimed: 

trutli, unknown save to a few, 
No longer tide thyself from view 
Beldnd the cloud, but bursting forth 
Show to the nations all thy worth. 
Good men thy coming long to see, 
And sigh in sad expectancy. 
Descend, Lord Jesus, quickly come. 
And brighten up this darkling gloom ; 
Show us how vile and poor we are. 
And take us. Saviour, to thy care.* 

It seems that Margaret's presence near the king 
checked the persecutors ; but she was soon compelled 
to leave the field open. The time of her confinement 
drew near. Henry d'Albret had not visited Beam 
since his marriage; perhaps he desired that his child 
should be born in the castle of Pau. In October 

* Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses, p. 90. 


1527 the King and Queen of Navarre set out for their 
possessions in the Pyrenees.* On the 7th of January, 
two months later, Jeanne d'Albret was born ; the 
statement that she was born at Fontainebleau or at 
Blois is a mistake. 

The Queen of Navarre had hardly left for Beam, 
when Duprat and the Sorbonne endeavoured to carry 
their cruel plans into execution. Among the num- 
ber of the gentlemen of John Stuart, Duke of Albany, 
was a nobleman of Poitou named De la Tour. The 
Duke of Albany, a member of the royal family of 
Scotland, had been regent of that kingdom, and De 
la Tour had lived with him in Edinburgh, where he 
had made the most of his time. ' When the lord duke 
was regent of Scotland,' people said, ' the Sieur de 
la Tour sowed many Lutheran errors there. 'f This 
French gentleman must therefore have been one of 
the earliest reformers in Scotland. He showed no 
less zeal at Paris than at Edinburgh, which greatly 
displeased the priests. Moreover, the Duke of Albany, 
who was in high favour with the king, was much 
disliked by the ambitious chancellor. An indict- 
ment was drawn up; Francis I., whose good genius 
was no longer by his side, shut his eyes ; De la Tour 
and his servant, an evangelical like himself, were 
condemned by the parliament for heresy. On the 
27th of October these two pious christians were bound 
in the same cart and led slowly to the pig-market to 
be burnt alive. When the cart stopped, the execu- 
tioners ordei'ed the servant to get down. He did so 
and stood at the cart's tail. They stripped off his 

* Lettres de lit Heme de Navarre, i. p. 224 ; ii. p. 87. 
f Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, p. 327. 


clothes, and flogged him so long and so severely that 
the poor wretch declared that he ' repented.' Some 
little mercy was consequently shown him, and they 
were content to cut out his tongue. They hoped by 
this means to shake De la Tour's firmness; but though 
deeply moved, he raised his eyes to heaven, vowed to 
God that he would remain true to him, and imme- 
diately an ineffable joy replaced the anguish by which 
he had been racked. He was burnt alive. 

Margaret must have heard at Pau of the death of 
the pious De la Tour; but however that may be, she 
left for Paris immediately after her delivery, giving 
her people orders to make haste. What was it that 
recalled her so promptly to the capital? Was it the 
news of some danger threatening the Gospel? A 
council was about to assemble at Paris ; did she desire 
to be at hand to ward off the blows aimed at her 
friends? That is the reason given by one historian.* 
' She had determined to make haste,' and, her confine- 
ment scarcely over, this weak and delicate princess, 
urging her courier to press on, crossed the sands and 
marshes of the Landes. In a letter from Barbezieux, 
she complains of the bad roads by which her carriage 
was so roughly jolted. ' I can find nothing difficult, 
nor any stage wearisome. I hope to be at Blois in 
ten days.'f 

It was time. De la Tour's death had satisfied 
neither the chancellor nor the Sorbonne. They desired 
' the extirpation of heresy,' and not merely the death of 
a single heretic. Not having succeeded by means of 
the clergy tax, they were determined to strive for it in 

* A. Pavin, Ilistove de Navarre, 1612. 
f Lettres de la Heine de Navarre, i, p. 236, 


another manner. Duprat listened to the reports, and 
took note of what he observed in the streets. Nothing 
annoyed him so much as hearing of laymen, and even 
women, who turned away their heads as they passed 
the churches, slipped into lonely streets, met in cellars 
or in garrets, where persons who had not received 
holy orders prayed aloud and read the Holy Scrip- 
tures. Had he not in 1516 abrogated the pragmatic 
sanction and stripped the Galilean Church of its Kber- 
ties ? Would he not, therefore, succeed with far less 
trouble in sacrificing this new and free Church, a poor 
and contemptible flock ? As a provincial council was 
to be held at Paris, Duprat resolved to take advantage 
of it to strike a decisive blow. 

On the 28th of February, 1528, the council was 
opened. The cardinal-archbishop having gone thither 
in great pomp, rose and spoke amid dead silence : 
' Sirs, a terrible pestilence, stirred up by Martin 
Luther, has destroyed the orthodox faith. A tempest 
has burst upon the bark of St. Peter, which, tossed 
by the winds, is threatened with dreadful shipwreck.* 
. . . There is no difference between Luther and 
Manichaeus. . . And yet, reverend fathers, his ad- 
herents multiply in our province; they hold secret 
conventicles in many places ; they unite with laymen 
in the most private chambers of the houses ; f they 
discuss the catholic faith with women and fools.' . . . 

It will be seen that it was not heresy, properly so 
called, that the chancellor condemned in the Reforma- 
tion, but liberty. A religion which was not exclu- 

* 'Dirmn conoussse Petri navicnlfs naufragium intentari.' — Labbaji 
Concilia, xiv. p. 432. 
t ' Cum laicia sese in penetralibus domorum recipere.' — ^Ibid. p. 442. 


sively in the hands of priests was, in his eyes, more 
alarming than heresy. If such practices were tole- 
rated, would they not one day see gentlemen, shop- 
keepers, and even men sprung from the ranks of the 
people, presuming to have something to say in matters 
of state ? The germ of the constitutional liberties of 
modern times lay hid in the bosom of the Reforma- 
tion. The chancellor was not mistaken. He wished 
at one blow to destroy both religious and political 
liberty. He found enthusiastic accomplices in the 
priests assembled at Paris. The council drew up a 
decree ordering the bishops and even the inhabitants 
of the dioceses to denounce all the Lutherans of their 

Would the king sanction this decree ? Duprat was 
uneasy. He collected his thoughts, arranged his 
arguments, and proceeded to the palace with the hope 
of gaining his master. ' Sire,' he said to Francis, 
' God is able without your help to exterminate aU 
this heretical band ;* but, in his great goodness, he 
condescends to call men to his aid. Who can 
teU of the glory and happiness of the many princes 
who, in past ages, have treated heretics as the greatest 
enemies of their crowns, and have given them over to 
death ? If you wish to obtain salvation ; if you wish 
to preserve your sovereign rights intact; if you wish 
to keep the nations submitted to you in tranquOlity : 
manfully defend the catholic faith, and subdue all 
its enemies by your arms.'f Thus spoke Duprat; 
but the king thought to himself that if his ' sovereign 

* ' Posset sine dutio Deus, absque principibusj uuiversam IiEereticorum 
cobortem conterere ac exterminaie.' — Labbeei CmiciKa, xiv. p. 432. 
t 'Ejus liostes yiriliter debellare.'— Ibid. p. 462. 


rights ' were menaced at all, it might well be by the 
power of Eome. He remained deaf as before, 

' Let us go further,' said the chancellor to his crea- 
tures ; ' let the whole Church caU for the extirpation 
of heresy.' Councils were held at Lyons, Rouen, 
Tours, Rheims, and Bourges, and the priests restrained 
themselves less in the provinces than in the capital. 
' These heretics,' said the fiery orators, ' worship the 
devil, whom they raise by means of certain herbs and 
sacrilegious forms.' * But all was useless ; Francis took 
pleasure in resisting the priests, and Duprat soon en- 
countered an obstacle not less formidable. 

If it was the duty of the priests to denounce the 
' enchanters,' it was the business of the parliament to 
condemn them; but parliament and the chancellor 
were at -wariance. On the death of his wife, Duprat, 
then a layman and first president of parliament, had 
calculated that tliis loss might be a gain, and he entered 
the Church in order to get possession of the richest 
benefices in the kingdom. First, he laid his hands on 
the archbishopric of Sens, although at the election 
there were twenty-two votes against him and only 
one for him.f Shortly after that, he seized the rich 
abbey of St. Benedict. ' To us alone,' said the monks, 
'belongs the choice of our abbot;' and they boldly 
refused to recognise the chancellor. Duprat's only 
answer was to lock them all up. The indignant parlia- 
ment sent an apparitor to the archbishop's ofiicers, and 
ordered them to appear before it ; but the officers 
fell upon the messenger, and beat him so cruelly that 

* 'Usu herbarum et sacrilege litu- charaoteruin.' — Labbsei Concilia, 
xiv. p. 426. 

■j- JaurnaX dun Bourgeois, p. 229. 


he died. The king decided in favour of his first 
minister, and the difference between the parliament 
and the chancellor grew wider. 

Duprat, who desired to become reconciled with this 
court, whose influence was often necessary to hiai, 
fancied he could gain it over by means of the Lutheran 
heresy, which they both detested equally. On their 
side the parliament desired nothing better than to 
recover the first minister's favour. These intrigues 
succeeded. ' The chancellor and the counsellors mu- 
tually gave up the truth, which they looked upon as 
a mere nothing, like a crust of bread which one throws 
to a dog,' to use the words of a reformer. Great was 
the exultation then in sacristy and in convent. 

As chancellor, Sorbonne, and parliament were 
agreed, it seemed impossible that the Reformation 
should not succumb under their combined attacks. 
They said to one another : ' We must pluck up all 
these ill weeds ; ' but they did not require, however, 
that it should be done in one day. 'If the king 
will only grant us some little isolated persecution,' 
said the enemies of the Reform, ' we will so work the 
matter that all the grist shall come to the miU at last.' 

But even that they could not obtain from the king ; 
the terrible mill remained idle and useless. The agi- 
tation of the clergy was, in the opinion of Francis, 
mere monkish clamour ; he desired to protect learn- 
ing against the attacks of the ultramontanists. Be- 
sides, he felt that the greatest danger which threatened 
his authority was the theocratic power, and he feared 
still more these restless and noisy priests. The 
Reformation appeared to be saved, when an unex- 
pected circumstance delivered it over to its enemies. 





EYERYTHING appeared in France to incline to- 
wards peace and joy. The court was at Fon- 
tainebleau, where Francis I. and the Duchess of 
Angouleme, the King and Queen of Navarre, and all 
the most illustrious of the nobility, had assembled to 
receive the young Duke of Ferrara, who had just 
arrived (20th of May, 1528) to marry Madame Renee, 
daughter of Louis XII. and Anne of Biittany. It was 
a time of rejoicing. Francis I., whose favourite resi- 
dence was Fontainebleau, had erected a splendid palace 
there, and laid out 'beautiful gardens, shrubberies, 
fountains, and aU things pleasant and recreative.' — 
' Really,' said the courtiers, ' the king has turned a 
wilderness into the most beautiful residence in Chris- 
tendom — so spacious that you might lodge a httle 
world in it.' * Foreigners were struck with the 
magnificence of the palace and the brilliancy of the 
court. The marriage of the daughter of Louis XII. 
was approaching : there was nothing but concerts and 
amusements. There were excursions in the forest, and 

* Brantome, Memoires, i. p. 277. 
VOL. I, 


sumptuous banquets in the palace, and learned men 
(says Brant6me) discoursed at table on 'the higher 
and the lower sciences.' But nothing attracted the at- 
tention of the foreign visitors so much as the Queen of 
Navarre. ' I observed her,' says a bishop, a papal legate, 
'while she was speaking to Cardinal d'Este, and I 
admired in her features, her expression, and in every 
movement, an harmonious union of majesty, modesty, 
and kindness.' * Such was Margaret in the midst of 
the court; the goodness of her heart, the purity of 
her life, and the abundance of her works spoke elo- 
quently to those about her of the beauty of the 

The princess, who was compelled to take part in 
every court entertainment, never let an opportunity 
pass of calling a soul to Jesus Christ. In the six- 
teenth century there was no evangelist, among women 
at least, more active than her ; this is a trait too im- 
portant in the French Eeformation to be passed by 
unnoticed. The maids of honour of the Duchess of 
Angouleme were no longer the vu'tuous damsels of 
Queen Claude. Margaret, feeling the tenderest com- 
passion for these young women, called now one and 
now another to Christ ; she conjured her ' dears ' 
(as she styled them) not to be ' caught by pleasure,' 
which would render them hateful to God. 

Farewell, my dear I 

The coiu't I flee 
To seek for life 

Beneath the tree. 

* Letter of Pierre-Paul Vergerio, Bishop of Capo d'Istria, to Victoria 
Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara. Life and Times of Paleario, by M. 
Young, ii. p. 356. 


If that my prayer 

Could influence thee, 
Thou shouldst not linger 

After me. 

Stay not, my dear, 

But come with me, 
And seek for life 

Beneath the tree.* 

Francis I., who loved the chase, would often go into 
the forest, attended by his young lords, and hunt the 
boar and deer for days together. These youths took 
great pleasure in talking of their skill to the ladies of 
the court, or in challenging one another who could 
kill the finest stag. . . The Queen of Navarre some- 
times joined good-naturedly in these conversations; 
she would smihngly call these gay young lords ' bad 
sportsmen,' and exhort them 'to go a-hunting after 
better game.' 

Here is one of these conversations of Fontainebleau, 
which she herself relates : 

As a youth was riding one day to the wood, 
He asked of a lady so wise and good 
If the game he sought for could be found 
In the forest that spread so thickly round ; 
For the young man's heart with desire heat high 
To kill the deer. The dame, with a sigh, 
Keplied : ' It 's the season for hunters, 't is true. 
But alas ! no himter true are you. 

' In the wood where none hut believers go 
Is the game you seek, but do not know ; 
It is in that bitter wood of the cross 
Which by the wicked is counted dross ; 
But to huntsmen good its taste is sweet, 
And the pain it costs is the best of meat. 

* The tree is the cross. Les Marguerites de la Marguerite, i. p. 479. 

o o 2 


If tliat your mind were finnly set 
Every honour but this to forget, 
No other game would be sought by you. . . 
But . . . you are not a hunter true.' 

As he heard these words, the hunter blushed, 

And with anger his countenance flushed : 
' You speak at random, dame,' he cried ; 
' The stag will I have, and nought beside.' 

' The stag you seek is close in view, 
But . . . you are not a himter true. 

' Sit you down by the fountain's brim, 
And in patience wait for him ; 
There, with soul and body at rest, 
Drink of that spring so pure and blest : 
All other means but this are nought. 
For eager in the toils of your heart to be caught, 
The stag wiU come running up to you ; 
But . . . you are not a hunter true.' 

The YoTTNa Hottiee. 
'Dame, 't is an idle tale you tell; 
Wealth and glory, I know full well. 
Are not to be won without toil and care. 
Of your water so pure not a drop wiU I share. 

Then the stag will never be caught by you. 
For . . . you are not a hunter true.' 

The young hunter understands at last what is wanted 
of him, and, after some further conversation with the 
lady, he exclaims : 

' With earnest faith my heart is filled ; 
All my worldly thoughts I yield 
At the voice of my Saviour Christ Jesu ! ' 

' Yes, now you are a hunter true ! ' • 

* Zes Marguerites de la Margnerite, i. p. 483. 


This narrative, and others of a like nature contained 
in the Marguerites^ were in all probability facts before 
they became poems. The little ballads were circu- 
lated at court; everybody wished to read the queen's 
' tracts,' and many of the nobility of France, who after- 
wards embraced the cause of the Reform, owed their 
first religious sentiments to Margaret. 

For the moment, the great thought that occupied 
every mind at Fontainebleau was the marriage of the 
'very prudent and magnificent Madame Ren^e.' The 
gentlemen of France and of Ferrara appeared at court 
in sumptuous costumes ; the princes and princesses 
glittered with jewels ; the halls and galleries were 
hung with rich tapestry. 

Dance and rejoice, make holiday 
For lier wliose We fills every heart.* 

All of a sudden, on the morrow of Pentecost, a mes- 
sage fell into the midst of this brOliant and joyous com- 
pany which excited the deepest emotion. A letter was 
handed to the king, and the efi^ect it produced was like 
that occasioned by a clap of thunder in a cloudless sky. 
Francis, who held the letter in his hand, was pale, 
agitated, almost quivering, as if he had just received 
a mortal insult. His anger exploded in an instant, 
like a mountain pouring out torrents of lava. He 
gave way to the most violent passion, and swore to 
take a cruel revenge. Margaret, terrified by her 
brother's anger, did not say a word, but withdrew, in 
alarm, to silence and prayer : she scarcely ventured an 
attempt to calm her brother's emotion. ' The incensed 
king,' says the chronicler, ' wept hard with vexation 

* Nuptial song of Madame RenSe. Chroniqne de Franqois I. p. 72. 


and anger.' * The court fetes were interrupted : 
the courtiers, joining in unison with their master, 
called loudly for violent measures, and Francis de- 
parted suddenly for Paris. What had caused all this 
commotion ? 

The festival of Pentecost (Whitsunday) had been 
celebrated with great pomp on the 30th of May, 
1528; but the devotionists, neglecting the Father, 
the Son, and above all the Holy Ghost, had thought 
of nothing all the day long but of worshipping the 
Virgin and her images. In the quarter of St. Antoine, 
and at the angle still formed by the streets Des Rosiers 
and Des Juifs, at the corner of the house belonging to 
the Sire Loys de Harlay, stood an image of the Virgin 
holding the infant Jesus in her arms. Numbers of 
devout persons of both sexes went every day to kneel 
before this figure. During the festival the crowd was 
more numerous than ever, and, bowing before the 
image, they lavished on it the loftiest of titles : ' holy 
Virgin ! mediatress of mankind ! pardon of sia- 
ners! Author of the righteousness which cleanses 
away our sins ! Refuge of all who return unto 
God ! ' f These observances had bitterly grieved 
those who remembered the old commandment : Thou 
sTialt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt 
thou serve. 

On the Monday morning, the morrow after the fes- 
tival, some passers-by fancied they observed something 
wrong in the place where the image stood : they could 
not see either the head of the Virgin or of the child. 
The men approached, and found that both the heads 

* Journal itun Bourgeois, p. 347. 

■f ' Mediatrix hominunij ablatrix criminura, pepcatonmi venia.' 


had been cut off; they looked about for them, and 
discovered them hidden behind a heap of stones close 
by; they picked up in the gutter the Virgin's robe, 
which was torn and appeared to have been trampled 
under foot. These persons, who were devout catho- 
lics, felt alarmed ; they respectfully took up the two 
heads and carried them to the magistrate. The news 
of the strange event quickly spread through the quarter. 
Monks and priests mingled with the crowd, and de- 
scribed the injury done to the image. Men, women, 
and children surrounded the mutilated figure — some 
weeping, others groaning, all cursing the sacrilege. 
A 'complaint' of the times has handed down to us 
the groans of the people : 

Alas ! how great the woej 

And crime that cannot pardoned be ! . . . 

To have hurt Our Lady so, 
Lady full of charity, 

And to sinners ever kind ! * . . . 

Such were the sentiments of the good catholics 
who, with tearful eyes and troubled hearts, looked 
upon the mutilated image. 

Who were the authors of this mutilation? It was 
never known. It has been said that the priests^ 
alarmed at the progress of the Eeformation and the 
disposition of the king, had perpetrated the act, in 
order to use it as a weapon against the Lutherans. 
That is possible, for such things have been done. I 
am, however, more inclined to believe that some hot- 
headed member of the evangelical party, exasperated 

* Chrmique du Hoi Francois I. p. 67 : for the ' coinplaintes,' see pp. 
446-464. Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, p. 347. 


at hearing that attributed to the Virgin which belongs 
only to Christ, had broken the idol. Be that as it 
may, the fanatical party resolved to profit by the 
sacrilege, and they succeeded. 

Francis I., the most susceptible and most irritable 
of princes, considered this act of violence as an out- 
rage upon his dignity and authority. As soon as he 
reached Paris, he did everything in his power to 
discover the guilty party. For two whole days heralds 
paraded the streets, and stopping at the crossways 
summoned the people by sound of trumpet and pro- 
claimed : • If any one knows who has done this, let 
him declare it to the magisti'ates and the king; the 
provost of Paris will pay him a thousand gold crowns, 
and if the informer has committed any crime, the king 
will pardon him. The crowd listened and then dis- 
persed; but all was of no use. Nothing could he 
learnt about it. ' Very well, then,' said the king, ' I 
will order commissioners to, go and make inquiry at 
every house.' The commissioners went and knocked 
at every door, examining one after another all the 
inhabitants of the quarter; but the result was still 
the same : ' No one knew anything about it.' 

The priests were not satisfied with these proclama- 
tions. On Tuesday the 2nd of June, and during the 
rest of the week, the clergy of Paris set themselves in 
motion, and constant processions from all the churches 
in the city marched to the scene of the outrage. A 
week after, on Tuesday the 9th of June, five hundred 
students, each carrying a lighted taper, with all the 
doctors, licentiates, and bachelors of the university, 
proceeded from the Sorbonne. In front of them 
marched the four mendicant orders. 


Beautiful it was to see 
Such a goodly company ; 
Monka grey, black, of every hue. 
Walking for an hour or two. 

The reaction was complete. Learning and the 
Gospel were forgotten ; men thought only of honour- 
ing the holy Virgin. The king, the Dukes of Ferrara, 
Longueville. and Yend6me, and even the King of 
Navarre, desired to pay the greatest honour to Maiy ; 
and accordingly on Thursday the 11th of June, being 
Corpus Christi Day, a long procession left the palace 
of the ToumeUes. 

In the front, with lighted tapers, 

There walked a goodly show ; 
Then followed next the children. 

Sweetly singing, in a row. 

A crowd of priests came chanting, 

And next marched him who hore* 
The body of our Jesus . , . 

The canopy was carried 

By the good King of Navarre, 
And by Vendome, and by Longueville, 

And the proud Duke of Ferrare. 

Then last of all there followed 

The king with head all bare ; 
The taper in his hand was wrapped 

In velvet rich and rare. 

The different guilds, supreme courts, bishops, am- 
bassadors, high officers of the crown, and princes of 
the blood, were all present. They walked to the 
sound of hautboys, clarions, and trumpets, playing 
with great state. When the procession arrived at the 
ill-omened spot, the king devoutly went up to it, and 
fell on his knees and prayed. On rising, he received 

* The Bishop of Lisieux. 


from the hands of his grand ahnoner a small silver- 
gilt statue of the Virgin, which he piously set up in 
the room of the former one, and placed his taper before 
the image as a testimony of his faith. All the mem- 
bers of the procession did the same, as they marched 
past to the sound of the trumpets. The people mani- 
fested their joy by acclamations : 

Long live the king of fleur-de-lys 
And all Ms noble family ! 

Erelong the mutilated image, removed to the 
church of St. Germain, began to work miracles. Four 
days afterwards, a child having been brought into the 
world still-born, 

The mother writhed and wept, 

And bitterly groaned she ; 
And loudly prayed that death 

Would take her suddenly. 

She tossed and tumbled so, 

That all the gossips there 
Shed floods of bitter tears 

And wildly tore their hair. 

Then one who counselled wisely. 
Said : ' Take the child that 's dead. 

And bear him to the Queen of Heaven ! ' . . , 
Which they devoutly did. 

The infant changed colour, adds the chronicle; it 
Avas baptised, and, after it had returned its soul to 
God, was buried. The miracle, it is clear, did not 
last long. 

Notwithstanding all these tapers, mu'acles, and 
trumpet sounds, the king was still excited. Neither 
he nor the fanatics were satisfied. The flush which 
some fancied they saw on the cheeks of the poor 
little still-born child, was not sufficient; they wanted 


a deeper red — red blood. Duprat, the Sorbonne, and 
the parliament said that their master had at last 
come to his senses, and that they must take advan- 
tage of the change. Francis, who held the reins 
firmly, had hitherto restrained the coursers bound 
to his chariot. But now, irritated and inflamed, 
he leant forward, slackened the bit, and even 
urged them on with his voice. These fiery wild 
horses were about to trample under foot all who 
came in their way, and the wheels of his chariot, 
crushing the unhappy victims, would sprinkle their 
blood even upon the garments of the prince. 
The persecution began. 





THERE lived in Paris one of those poor christians 
of Meaux known as christaudins, or disciples 
of Christ. This man, full of admiration for the Son 
of God and of horror for images, had been driven 
from his native city by persecution, and had become a 
waterman on the Seine. One day a stranger entered 
his boat, and as the Virgin was everywhere the subject 
of conversation, since the affair of the Rue des Rosiers, 
the passenger began to extol the power of the ' mother 
of God,' and pulling out a picture of Mary, offered it 
to his conductor. The boatman, who was rowing 
vigorously, stopped; he could not contain himself, 
and, taking the picture, said sharply : ' The Virgin 
Mary has no more power than this bit of paper,' 
which he tore in pieces and threw into the river. 
The exasperated catholic did not say a word ; but as 
soon as he landed, he ran off to denounce the heretic. 
This time at least they knew the author of the sacri- 
lege. Who could tell but it was he who committed the 
outrage in the Rue des Rosiers? The poor cliristau- 
din was burnt on the Greve at Paris.* 

* Journid (Tun Bourgeois de Paris, pp. .321, 375. 


All the evangelical christians of ]\Ieaux had not, 
like him, quitted La Brie. In the fields around that 
city might often be seen a pious man named Denis, a 
native of Rieux. He had heard the divine summons 
one day, and, filled with desire to know God, he had 
come to Jesus. Deeply impressed mth the pangs 
which the Saviour had endm'ed in order to save sin- 
ners, he had fi'om that hour turned his eyes unceas- 
ingly upon the Crucified One. Denis was filled with 
astonishment when he saw christians putting their 
trust in ceremonies, instead of placing it wholly in 
Christ. When, in the course of his many journeys, 
he passed near a church at the time they were say- 
ing mass, it seemed to him that he was witnessing a 
theatrical representation* and not a religious act. 
His tortured soul uttered a cry of anguish. ' To 
desire to be reconciled with God by means of a 
mass,' he said one day, ' is to deny my Saviour's 
passion.' f The parhament gave orders to confine 
Denis in the prison at Meaux. 

As Brijonnet was stiU at the head of the diocese, 
the judges requested him to do all in his power to 
bring back Denis to the fold. One day the doors of 
the prison opened, and the bishop, at the summit of 
honour but a backslider from the faith, stood in the 
presence of the christian under the cross, but still 
faithful. Embarrassed at the part he had to play, 
Bri^omiet hung his head, hesitated, and blushed ; this 
visit was a punishment imposed upon his cowardice. 
' If you retract,' he said to Denis at last, ' we will 
set you at liberty, and you shall receive a yearly 

* ' Histrionica representatio.' 
f Orespin, Martyrologm, p. 102. 


pension.' But Denis had marvellously engraven in 
his heart, says the chronicler, that sentence deli- 
vered by Jesus Christ : ' Whosoever shall deny me 
before men, him will I also deny before my Father 
which is in heaven.' Turning therefore an indignant 
look upon Brigonnet, he exclaimed : ' Would you be 
so base as to urge me to deny my God ? ' The unhappy 
prelate, terrified at this address, fancied he heard his 
own condemnation, and without saying a word fled 
hastily from the dungeon. Denis was condemned to 
be burnt alive. 

On the 3rd of July, the town sergeants came to 
the prison ; they took Denis from his cell and bouad 
him to the hurdle they had brought with them. 
Then, as if to add iasult to torture, they pinioned 
his arms and placed a wooden cross in his haiids. 
Drawing up on each side of him, they said: ' See 
now how he worships the wood of the cross ! ' and 
dragged the poor sufferer on his hurdle through the 
streets. Some of the spectators, when they saw him 
holding the piece of wood, exclaimed : ' Truly, he is 
converted ! ' but the humble believer replied : ' 
my friends ! ... be converted to the true cross ! ' 
The procession advanced slowly on account of the 
crowd, and as they were passing near a pond from 
which the water, swollen by the rains, was rushing 
rapidly, Denis gave a struggle, the cross fell, and 
'went sailing down the stream.' When the bigots 
(as the chronicler terms them) saw the cross dancing 
and floating upon the water, they rushed forward to 
pull it out, but could not reach it. They came back 
and avenged themselves ' by insulting the poor suf- 
ferer lying on the hurdle.' The stake was reached at 


last. ' Gently,' said the priests, ' kindle only a small 
fire, a very small fire, in order that it may last the 
longer.' They bound Denis to a balanced pole and 
placed him on the fire, and when the heat had almost 
killed him, they hoisted him into the air. As soon as 
he had recovered his senses, they let him down again. 
Three times was he thus lifted up and lowered, the 
flames each time beginning their work anew. ' Yet 
all the time,' says the chronicler, ' he called upon the 
name of God.' * At last he died. 

Not at Paris only did the Roman party show itself 
without mercy. The wishes of Duprat, of the Sor- 
bonne, and of the parliament were carried out in the 
provinces ; and wherever truth raised her head, per- 
secution appeared. In the principal church of the 
small town of Annonay, there hung from the arched 
roof a precious shrine, which the devout used to con- 
template every day with pious looks. ' It contains 
the holy virtues,^ said the priests. ' The shrine is 
full of mysterious relics which no one is allowed to 
see.' On Ascension Day, however, the holy virtues 
were borne in great ceremony through the city. 
Men, women, and children were eager to walk in the 
procession, with their heads and feet bare, and in 
their shirts. Some of them approached the shrine, 
and kissed it, passing backwards and forwards beneath 
it, almost as the Hindoos do when the idol of Jug- 
gernaut is dragged through the midst of its wor- 
shippers. At the moment when the holy virtues 
passed through the castle, the gates turned of 
themselves on their hinges, and aU the prisoners 

* Crespin, Martyrologue, p. 102. 


were set at liberty, with the exception of the 

These silly superstitions were about to be disturbed. 
A battle began around this mysterious shrine, and as 
soon as one combatant fell, another sprang up in his 

The first was a grey friar, a doctor of divinity, 
whom Crespin calls Stephen Machopolis: the latter 
appears to be one of those names which the reformers 
sometimes assumed. Stephen, attracted by the ru- 
mours of the Keformation, had gone to Saxony and 
heard Luther.* Having profited by his teaching, the 
grey friar determined to go back to France, and Luther 
recommended him to the counts of Mansfeld, who 
supplied him with the means of returning to his 
native country, f 

Stephen had scarcely arrived at Annonay before he 
began to proclaim warmly the virtues of the Saviour 
and of the Holy Ghost, and to inveigh against the holy 
virtues hanging in the church. The priests tried to 
seize him, but he escaped. In the meanwhile he had 
talked much about the Gospel with one of his friends, 
a cordelier like himself, Stephen Renier by name. 
The latter undertook, with stUl more courage than 
his predecessor, to convert all these ignorant people 
from their faith in ' dead men's bones ' to the living 
and true God. The priests surprised the poor man, 
cast him into prison, and conveyed him to Vienne in 
Dauphiny, where the archbishop resided. Renier pre- 
ferred being burnt alive to making any concession.^ 

* Crespin, Martyrologtte, p. 102. 

t Lutherus ad Agricolam, May 1527. Lutheri Epp. iii. p. 173. 

X Crespin, Actes des Martyrs, p. 102, verso. 


A pious and learned schoolmaster, named Jonas, 
had already taken his place in Annonay, and spoke 
still more boldly than the two Franciscans. He was 
sent to prison in his turn, and made before the magis- 
trates ' a good and complete ' p]'ofession of faith. As 
the priests and the archbishop now had Jonas locked 
up, they hoped to be quiet at last. 

But very diiferent was the result : the two friars 
and the schoolmaster having disappeared, all those 
who had received the Word of life rose up and pro- 
claimed it. The Archbishop of Vienne could contain 
himself no longer ; it seemed to him as if evangelicals 
sprang ready-armed from the soil, like the followers 

of Cadmus in days of yore ' They are headstrong 

and furious,' said the good folks of Vienne. — ' Bring 
them all before me,' cried the archbishop. Twenty- 
five evangelical christians were taken from Annonay 
to the archiepiscopal city, and many of them, being 
left indefinitely in prison, died of weakness and bad 

The death of a few obscure men did not satisfy the 
ultramontanes : they desired a more Ulustrious vic- 
tim, the most learned among the nobles. Wher- 
ever Berquin or other evangelicals turned their steps, 
they encountered fierce glances and heard cries of 
indignation. ' What tyrannical madness ! what plu- 
tonic rage ! ' called out the mob as they passed. ' Ras- 
cally youths ! imps of Satan ! brands of hell ! vilenaille 
brimful of Leviathans! venomous serpents! servants 
of Lucifer ! ' * This was the usual vocabulary. 

Berquin, as he heard this torrent of insult, answered 

* Complaintes et po^aies diversea du temps, Appendice de la C7iro- 
nigtie de Frangois I. pp. 446-464. 
VOL. I. P P 


not a word : lie thought it his duty to let the storm 
blow over, and kept himself tranquil and solitary be- 
fore God. Sometimes, however, his zeal caught fire; 
there were sudden movements in his heart, as of a 
wind tossing up the waves with their foamy heads ; 
but he struggled against these ' gusts ' of the flesh ; 
he ordered his soul to be still, and erelong nothing 
was left but some little ' fluttering.' 

While Berquin was silent before the tempest, Beda 
•and his party did aU in their power to bring down the 
bolt upon that haughty head which refused to bend 
before them. ' See ! ' they said, as they described the 
mutilation of Our Lady, ' see to what our toleration of 
heresy leads ! . . . Unless we root it up entirely, it will 
soon multiply and cover the whole country.' 

The doctors of the Sorbonne and other priests went 
out of their houses in crowds ; they spread right and 
left, buzzing in the streets, buzzing in the houses, 
buzzing in the palaces. ' These hornets,' says a 
chronicler, 'make their tedious noise heard by aU 
they meet, and urge them on with repeated stings.' 
' Away with Berquin ! ' was their cry. 

His friends grew alarmed. ' Make your escape ! ' 
wrote Erasmus to him. ' Make your escape ! ' repeated 
the friends of learning and of the Gospel around him.* 
But Berquin thought that by keeping quiet he did all 
that he ought to do. Flight he would have considered 
a disgrace, a crime. ' With God's help,' he said, 
' I shall conquer the monks, the university, and the 
parliament itself.' f 

* * Semper illi canebant eandem cantionem.' — Erasmi Epp. p. 1622. 
■j" ' Ille sibi promittebat certain et speciosam victoriam.' — Ibid. 


Such confidence exasperated the Sorbonne. Beda 
and his followers stirred university and parliament, 
city, court, and Church, heaven and earth. . . Francis I. 
was puzzled, staggered, and annoyed. At last, being 
beset on every side, and hearing it continually 
repeated that Berquin's doctrines were the cause of 
the outrage in the Rue des Rosiers, the king yielded, 
believing, however, that he yielded but little : he con- 
sented only that an inqmry should be opened against 
Berquin. The wild beast leapt with joy. His prey 
was not yet given to him ; but he already foresaw the 
hour when he would quench his thirst in blood. 

A strange blindness is that of popery ! The lessons 
of history are lost upon it. So long as events are in 
progress, men mistake both their causes and con- 
sequences. The smoke that covers the battle-field, 
dnring the struggle, does not permit us to distinguish 
and appreciate the movements of the different armies. 
But once the battle ended, the events accomplished, 
intelligent minds discover the principles of the move- 
ments and order of battle. Now, if there is any truth 
which history proclaims, it 'is that Christianity was 
established in the world by pouring out the blood of 
its martyi's. One of the greatest fathers of the West 
has enunciated tliis mysterious law.* But the Rome 
of the popes — and in this respect she paid her tribute 
to human weakness — overlooked this great law. She 
took no heed of the facts that ought to have en- 
lightened her. She did not understand that the blood 
of these friends of the Gospel, which she was so eager 
to spill, would be for modern times, as it had been for 

* ' The blood of christians is the seed of tlie Chui'oh.' — Tertullian. 


ancient times, a seed of ti'ansformation. Imprudently 
resuming the part played by the Rome of the emperors, 
she put to death, one after another, those who professed 
the everlasting Truth. But at the very moment 
when the enemies of the Reform imagined they had 
crushed it by getting rid of Berquin; at the moment 
when the irritation of the king allowed the servants of 
Christ to be dragged on hurdles, and when he autho- 
rised torture, imprisonment, and the stake ; at the 
moment when all seemed destined to remain mute 
and trembling — the true Reformer of France issued 
unnoticed from a college of priests, and was about to 
begin, in an important city of the kingdom, that work 
which we have undertaken to narrate — a work which 
for three centuries has not ceased, and never wiU cease, 
to grow. 

We shaU attempt to describe the small beginnings 
of this great work in the next volume. 





39 Paternoster Ruw, E.G. 
London, ApHl i8So. 



Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. 



Russia Before and After 

the War. By the Author of ' Society 
in St. Petersburg' &c. Translated 
from the German (with later Additions 
by tlie Author) by Edward Fairfax 
Taylor. Second Edition. 8vo. 14^. 

Russia and England from 

1876 to 1880 ; a Protest and an Appeal. 
By O. K^Author of ' Is Russia Wrong ?' 
With a Preface by J. A. Froude, M. A. 
Portrait and Maps. 8vo. i^. 

History of England from 

the Conclusion of the Great War 
in 1815. By Spencer Walpole. 
8vo. Vols. I. & II. 1815-1832 (Second 
Edition, revised) price t,6s. Vol. III. 
1832-1841, price lis. 

History of England in the 

l8th Century. By W. E. H. Lecky, 
M.A. Vols. I. & II. 1700-1760. 
Second Edition. 2 vols. 8vo. 36^. 

The History of England 

from the Accession of James II. 

By the Right Hon. Lord Macaulay. 

Student's Edition, 2 vols. cr. 8vo. 12s. 
People's Edition, 4 vols. cr. 8vo. i (>s. 
Cabinet Edition, 8 vols, post 8vo. 48j-. 
Library Edition, 5 vols. 8vo. £^. 

Lord Macaulay's Works. 

Complete and uniform Library Edition. 
Edited by his Sister, Lady Trevelyan. 
8 vols. 8vo. with Portrait, £s. Ss. 

Critical and Historical 

Essays contributed to the Edin- 
burgh Review. By the Right Hon. 
Lord Macaulay. 

Cheap Edition, crown Svo. y. dd. 
Student's Edition, crown Svo. ts. 
People's Edition, 2 vols, crown 8yo. Sj. 
Cabinet Edition, 4 vols. 24^. 
Library Edition, 3 vols. Svo. 36^. 

The History of England 

from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat 
of the Spanish Armada. By J. A. 
Froude, M.A. 

Cabinet Edition, 12 vols, crown, ;^3. 12^. 
Library Edition, i2vols. demy, ;,f8. iSj-. 

The English in Ireland 

in the Eighteenth Century. By J. A. 

Froude, M.A. 3 vols. Svo. £2.. Zs. 

Journal of the Reigns of 

King George IV. and King William 
IV. By the late C. C. F. Greville, 
Esq. Edited by H. Reeve, Esq. 
Fifth Edition. 3 vols. Svo. price 36.?. 

The Life of Napoleon \\\. 

derived from State Records, Unpub- 
lished Family Correspondence, and 
Personal Testimony. By Blanchard 
Jerrold. In Four Volumes, Svo. with 
numerous Portraits and Facsimiles. 
Vols. I. to III. price \%s. each. 

WORKS published by LONGMANS &> CO. 

The Constitutional His- 
tory of England since the Accession 
of George III. 1760-1870. By Sir 

Thomas Erskine May, K.C.B. D.C.L; 
Sixth Edition. 3 vols, crown 8vo. \%s. 

Democracy in Europe ; 

a History. By Sir Thomas Erskine 
May, K.C.B. D.C.L. 2 vols. 8vo. 32J. 

Introductory Lectures on 

Modern History delivered in 1841 
and 1842. By the late Thomas 
Arnold, D.D. 8vo. "js. 6d. 

On Parliamentary Go- 
vernment in England ; its Origin, 

Development, and Practical Operation. 
By Alpheus Todd. 2 vols. 8vo. 37^. 

History of Civilisation in 

England and France, Spain and 
Scotland. By Henry Thomas 
Buckle. 3 vols, crown 8vo. 24J-. 

Lectures on the History 

of England from the Earliest Times 
to the Death of King Edward II. 
By W. Longman, F.S.A. Maps and 
Illustrations. 8vo, ip. 

History of the Life & 

Times of Edward III. By W. Long- 
man, F.S.A. With 9 Maps, 8 Plates, 
and 16 Woodcuts. 2 vols. 8vo. 28j-. 

History of the Life and 

Reign of Richard III. Including 
the Story of Perkin Warbeck. By 
James Gairdner. Second Edition, 
Portrait and Map. Crovm 8vo. 10s, 6d. 

Memoirs of the Civil 

War in Wales and the Marches, 
1642-1649. By John Roland 
Phillips, of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister- 
at-Law. 8vo. 16s. 

History of England un- 
der the Duke of Buckingham and 
Charles I. 1624-1628. By S. R. 

Gardiner. 2 vols. 8vo. Maps, 24^. 

The Personal Govern- 
ment of Charles I. from the Death of 
Buckingham to the Declaration in favour 
of Ship Money, 1628-1637. By S. R. 
Gardiner, 2 vols. 8vo. 24^, 

Memorials of the Civil 

War between King Charles I. and the 
Parliament of England as it affected 
Herefordshire and the Adjacent 
Counties. By the Rev. J. Webb, M.A. 
Edited and completed by the- Rev. T. 
W.Webb, M.A. 2 vols. 8vo. Illustra- 
tions, 42^. 

Popular History of 

France, from the Earliest Times to 
the Death of Louis XIV. By Miss 
Sewell. Crown 8vo. Maps, "js. dd. 

A Student's Manual of 

the History of India from the Earliest 
Period to the Present. By Col. 
Meadows Taylor, M. R. A. S. Third 
Thousand. Crown 8vo. Maps, 'js. 6d. 

Lord Minto in India ; 

Correspondence of the First Earl of 
Miuto, while Governor-General of 
India, from 1807 to 18 14. Edited by 
his Great-Niece, the Countess of 
Minto. Completing Lord Minto's 
Life and Letters published in 1874 by 
the Countess of Minto, in Three 
Volumes. Post 8vo. Maps, 12s. 

Indian Polity ; a View of 

the System of Administration in India. 
By Lieut-Col. G. Chesney. Svo. 21s, 

Waterloo Lectures ; a 

Study of the Campaign of 1815. By 
. Col. C. C. Chesney, R.E. Svo. ios. 6d. 

The Oxford Reformers — 

John Colet, Erasmus, and Thomas 
More ; a History of their Fellow- Work. 
By F. Seebohm. Svo. 14.?. 

History of the Romans 

under the Empire. By Dean Meri- 
vale, D.D. 8 vols, post Svo. 48j-. 

General History of Rome 

from B.C. 753 to A.D. 476. By Dean 
Merivale, D.D. Crown Svo. Maps, 
price 'js. 6d. 

The Fall of the Roman 

Republic ; a Short History of the Last 
Century of the Commonwealth. By 
Des.n MsRiVALE, D.D. i2mo. p. 6d. 

WORKS published by LONGMANS (2^■ CO. 

The History of Rome. 

By WiLHELM Ihne. Vols. I. to III. 
8vo. price 45 i. 

Carthage and the Cartha- 
ginians. By R. BoswoRTH Smith, 

IVLA. Second Edition. Maps, Plans, 
&c. Crown 8vo. \os. 6d. 

The Sixth Oriental Mo- 

narchy ; or, the Geography, History, 
and Antiquities of Parthia. By G. 
Rawlinson, M.A. With Maps and 
Illustrations. 8vo. l6s. 

The Seventh Great Ori- 
ental Monarchy ; or, a History of 
the Sassanians. By G. Rawlinson, 
M.A. With Map and 95 Illustrations. 
8vo. 28^. 

The History of European 

Morals from Augustus to Charle- 
magne. By W. E. H. Lecky, M.A. 
2 vols, crown 8vo. 16^. 

History of the Rise and 

Influence of the Spirit of Rational- 
ism in Europe. By W. E. H. Lecky, 
M.A. 2 vols, crown 8vo. i6s. 

The History of Philo- 

lie XJ.JLOl.Ul^ VI J. iiiiv/- 

sophy, from Thales to Comte. By 
George Henry Lewes. Fifth 
Edition. 2 vols. Svo. 32J. 

A History of Classical 

Greek Literature. By the Rev. J. P. 
Mahaffy, M.A. Trin. Coll. Dublin. 
2 vols, crown Svo. price Is, (>d. each. 

Zeller's Stoics, Epicu- 
reans, and Sceptics. Translated by 
the Rev. O. J. Reichel, M.A. New 
Edition revised. Crown 8vo, i5j-. 

Zeller's Socrates & the 

Socratic Schools. Translated by the 
Rev. O. J. Reichel, M.A. Second 
Edition. Crown 8vo. los. dd. 

Zeller's Plato & the Older 

Academy. Translated by S.Frances 
Alleyne and Alfred Goodwin, 
B.A. Crown Svo. iSj-. 

'Aristotle and the Elder Peripatetics' and 'The 
Pra-Socratic Schools,' comijleting the English 
Edition of Zeller's Work' on Ancient Greek 
Philosophy, .ire preparing for publication. 

Epochs of Modern His- 
tory. Edited by C. Colbeck, M.A. 

Church's Beginning of the Middle 

Ages, 2s. dd. 
Cox's Crusades, 2s. 6d. 
Creighton's Age of Elizabeth, 2s. 6d. 
Gairdner's Houses of Lancaster and 

York, 2J. ()d. 
Gardiner's Puritan Revolution, 2s. 6d. 

Thirty Years' War, 2s. 6d. 

Hale's Fall of the Stuarts, 2s. 6d. 
Johnson's Normans in Europe, 2s. 6d. 
Ludlow's War of American Indepen- 
dence, 2s. 6d. 

Morris's Age of Anne, 2s. 6d. 
Seebohm's Protestant Revolution, 2/6. 
Stubbs's Early Plantagenets, 2j. 6d. 
Warburton's Edward III. 2s. 6d. 

Epochs of Ancient His- 
tory. Edited by the Rev. Sir G. W. 
Cox, Bart. M.A. & C. Sankey, M.A. 

Beesiys Gracchi, Marius & Sulla, 2s. 6d. 
Capes's Age of the Antonines, 2s. 6d. 

Early Roman Empire, 2s, 6d. 

Cox's Athenian Empire, 2s. dd. 

Greeks & Persians, 2s. td. 

Curteis's Macedonian Empire, 2s. 6d. 
Ihne's Rome to its Capture by the 

Gauls, 2J-. 6d. 

Merivale's Roman Triumvirates, 2s. 6d. 

Sankey's Spartan & Theban Supre- 
macies, 2s, 6d. 

Creighton's Shilling His- 
tory of England, introductory to 
'Epochs of English History.' Fcp. 

Epochs of English His- 
tory. Edited by the Rev. Mandell 
Creighton, M.A. Fcp. Svo. 5^. 

Browning's Modern England, i820- 
1874, 90^- 

Cordery's Struggle against Absolute 
Monarchy, 1603-1688, gd. 

Creighton's (Mrs.) England a Conti- 
nental Power, 1066-1216, gd. 

Creighton's (Rev. M.) Tudors and the 
Reformation, 148S-1603, gd. 

Rowley's Rise of the People, 1215-1485, 
price gd. 

Rowley's Settlement of the Constitu- 
tion, 1688-1778, gd. 

Tancock's England during the Ameri- 
can & European Wars, 1778-18